Public transportation in Austin is seemingly on the rise as Austinites grow more tired of the horrible traffic that happens every day throughout the city. Capital Metro has worked hard and has put in some investment into making public transportation in this town more efficient and more visible. MetroRapid buses and the MetroRail had a huge increase in passengers during South by Southwest. And the city continues to seek public transit participation as Austin increases more and more in population.
CapMetro works around the clock to make its services more efficient not only for its patrons but also for the Austin community as a whole. For Austin to have a great public transportation system there has to be a real balance between the focus on the service as well as how the public transportation system affects the entire town as a whole, including pedestrians and cars.
As of now CapMetro is looking to pull all of its bus routes from Congress Avenue and shift them down a few blocks to make a better experience up and down the avenue for all. The proposal calls for the pulling of 11 routes that currently run on Congress Avenue between the river and the Capitol and shift those routes over to Guadalupe and Lavaca.
This January, three routes made the shift from Congress Avenue to Guadalupe and Lavaca streets in attempt to make the avenue less busy. For big events like Formula 1 and South by Southwest, all of the buses are temporarily shifted off of Congress Avenue to make life easier for commuters. By doing this it proposed a permanent shift off of Congress Avenue as a part of the city’s bigger vision to redevelop the avenue in order to make it more pedestrian-friendly.
CapMetro officials are also looking to move three routes off of Sixth Street so that they don’t have to deal with the nightly closures on the street. The Board will vote on the proposed changes at the end of the month. If it’s approved, the bus route changes will go into effect in June.
Perfecting a public transportation system that people will actually want to use isn’t easy but it is definitely doable to make life easier on drivers, pedestrians, and Austin as a whole. This can decrease traffic and increase happiness for everyone involved.
If you’re interested in public transportation, here are some options besides the MetroRapid bus and MetroRail that you probably didn’t even know existed:
- Guaranteed Ride Home program: $5 membership fee entitles qualified customers reimbursement for up to four emergency taxi rides a year.
- Vanpooling: Eligible groups of 5-12 people with a month-to-month lease agreement of a commuter van that includes insurance, maintenance, 24-hour roadside assistance, and fuel purchasing program.
- Cap Metro Mobile App: With the new, free app, you can buy passes, plan trips and get real-time arrival information. App users are also eligible for future Cap Metro customer rewards.
- Metro Bike Shelters: We are introducing new electronic card-accessed enclosed shelters – called MetroBike Shelters – at a number of rail stations and Park-and-Rides soon.
- 2020 Plans Available online: Cap Metro released their plan for the next 6 years so there won’t be surprises for future riders. www.capmetro.org/sp2020/