Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority

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For the Canberra, Australia, light rail proposal, see Capital Metro, Canberra.
Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Metro-site-logo.png
Founded July 1, 1985
Headquarters 2910 E. Fifth Street
Locale Austin, Texas
Service area Austin, Travis and parts of Williamson Counties
Service type Bus, passenger rail, van pool
Routes 49 metro, 12 special, 8 express, 19 UT shuttle, 1 passenger rail
Stops 3,000+
Hubs 22(transfer centers/ park and ride)
Stations 9 (passenger rail)
Fleet 417
Daily ridership 130,000[1]
Fuel type ultra-low sulfur diesel, Diesel-electric hybrid
Operator CMTA
Chief executive Linda Watson[2]
Website capmetro.org

The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority, commonly referred to as Capital Metro, is a public transportation provider located in Austin, Texas. It operates bus, paratransit services and a commuter rail system known as Capital MetroRail for Austin and several suburbs in Travis and Williamson counties. In January 2014, Capital Metro launched MetroRapid, an express service operating in shared lanes with automobile traffic.[3]

Voters approved the creation of Capital Metro in January 1985, agreeing to fund the organization with a one percent sales tax.

History[edit]

Capital Metro headquarter complex

Capital Metro was established by a referendum on January 19, 1985, to provide mass transportation service to the greater Austin metropolitan area. Voters in Austin and the surrounding area approved the creation of the agency, to be funded in part by a 1 percent sales tax. Capital Metro commenced operations on July 1, 1985, and took over the existing city of Austin bus services in 1986.[4]

In an effort to boost ridership, Capital Metro did away with fares completely and instituted fare-free in an experiment that lasted from October 1989 to December 1990. The program was enormously successful in attracting new passengers, and increased ridership by 75% (but expanded service accounted for some of the growth). The fare-free scheme, however, attracted problem riders who drove away quality ridership. In response, 75% of transit drivers voted to have the program discontinued immediately in 1990.[5]

Metro Access vehicle

In 1997 Capital Metro was the subject of a string of Texas Legislature and FBI investigations that uncovered a dysfunctional organization beset by poor management. As a result, the Legislature subsequently overhauled Capital Metro and its board of directors in an attempt to make the transit authority both more effective and transparent ahead of a performance review by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.[6] The review cited an "ongoing criminal investigation" by the FBI, "irresponsible management", "expensive, embarrassing mistakes", "dubious contracting and purchasing practices", and $118,000 spent on "food, parties, and presents for its employees" and culminated with, "We have never, in all of the performance reviews we have conducted, seen an agency with such a lack of accountability."[7]

As part of this restructuring, the Legislature ordered Capital Metro to hold an up-or-down referendum on passenger rail. In response, Capital Metro released an ambitious plan that proposed to spend $1.9 billion for a light rail system with 52 miles of track on existing streets. The referendum was narrowly defeated in November 2000 by 2,000 votes, with voters in central Austin tending to favor it, while those outside the city limits did not.[8] Capital Metro prepared a greatly scaled-back version for voters in November 2004. The updated plan sought to build just one starter line that would run north-south at a cost $90 million. While the project was somewhat marred by construction delays, questions and safety and cost overruns, the Red Line of the Capital MetroRail began service on March 22, 2010.[9]

Capital Metro had its first passenger/bus fatality in its operating history on January 30, 2012, when route 383 operated by Veolia Transportation bus struck a pedestrian crossing Braker Ln and Jollyville. This was due to a number of factors including sharp left turns at the intersection of Braker and Jollyville, the fact the 2-3 bus routes turn on a narrow stretch of turn lane, bad weather, and using buses that are near end of life or end of life such in the case with the buses contracted out to Veolia that were once used for StarTran bus services.[10]

There have been several passenger injuries that have been reported on Veolia, StarTran, and First Transit routes in which First Transit exceeds performance ratings, StarTran in the middle, and Veolia failing to consistently meet performance ratings. A safety review plan has been communicated with Veolia Transportation in 2011. The board of directors have been constantly reviewing ways of improvement for that contractor.

Funding conflicts[edit]

The source of Capital Metro's funding has been a source of considerable and consistent controversy since the transit authority's founding in 1985. In December 1988, the board of directors voluntarily lowered the sales and use tax to 0.75-cent. In June 1995, the Board of Directors reinstated the sales and use tax to the full one percent effective October 1, 1995, promising to set aside the additional revenue for funding light rail.[11]

Capital Metro, after raising its sale tax from 0.75 percent to 1 percent in 1995, had stockpiled $176 million by the 2000 referendum. When light rail was defeated at the polls in 2000, however, pressure mounted to return the quarter-cent it had been setting aside for rail projects. For years, mass transit detractors had coveted the quarter percentage earmarked for rail projects. Political leaders and organizations, including former Republican state Rep. Terry Keel of Austin, Travis County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty and his anti-rail group Reclaim Our Allocated Dollars (ROAD), wanted the sales-tax money to build projects such as a highway loop around Austin and an east-west freeway. As pressure mounted on Capital Metro, Keel announced his intention to roll Capital Metro's taxing authority back to a half-cent and redirecting the other half-cent to highway construction.[12]

To head that off and keep rail's future prospects alive, the Capital Metro board passed resolutions in the months after the vote making two promises: It would direct $91 million of its existing reserves to local governments for transportation projects, and it would dispense all proceeds that year from a quarter-cent of its tax to those same local governments. That quarter-cent promise was later extended for three more years, eventually amounting to $113 million, for a total of $204 million.[13]

The city of Austin, given that something on the order of 97 percent of Capital Metro sales taxes come from within the city, was to be the primary beneficiary of those promises. Since 2000, at least $106 million of the $204 million promised to Austin and smaller cities such as Manor and Leander. At the same time, however, it was spending more than $300 million on commuter rail, park-and-ride lots, a new maintenance and operations center, and other facilities. As the Great Recession spread to Austin in 2009, tax revenues dried up and Capital Metro had to stop payment on a $51 million loan owed to Austin as part of a 2001 agreement. [14]

Member jurisdictions[edit]

South Congress Transit Center

The following jurisdictions participate in the Capital Metro system, all in Travis and Williamson Counties.[15]

The original jurisdictions of Cedar Park, Pflugerville, Rollingwood, and West Lake Hills have withdrawn from Capital Metro.[16] Service to other areas in the Austin metropolitan area is provided by the Capital Area Rural Transportation System. Capital Metro recently voted to allow a new policy that would allow new member cities to hire the transit authority to provide transit service, without using the 1% sales tax.[17]

Capital MetroBus[edit]

Capital Metro MetroBus

Capital Metro's fixed route bus service includes 49 metro routes and 8 Express routes as of 2008. It has several categories of routes: Local Service, Flyer and Limited, Feeder, Crosstown, Special Services, Express and University of Texas Shuttles. At the agency's inception, Capital Metro originally operated a series of "paired" route service where two different routes that pass through downtown are served by the same buses, allowing riders to transfer between certain routes without leaving the bus. Since 2008, this practice has been eliminated and after a number of route pair reassignments, the agency merged the paired routes under single route numbers (for example, the 1 North Lamar and 13 South Congress were originally paired as they were the two busiest routes in the system, but they have since been merged as 1 North Lamar/South Congress). Meanwhile, most local routes carried two digits before Capital Metro assigned a third digit for routes that do not serve downtown in 2000 (for example, 25 Ohlen became 325). Flyer routes were renumbered altogether to match their local stop counterparts (for example, 65 Manchaca Flyer became 103), while express routes that operated during commute times only contained letters (for example, NEX Northeast Express was renamed 990 Manor/Elgin Express; but was also named 103 Northeast Express).

University of Texas Shuttle System[edit]

A Capital Metro bus painted in University of Texas at Austin colors.

The University of Texas' shuttle system, operated by Capital Metro, is the largest university transit system in the United States. The UT Shuttle System boasts 14 routes, 87 buses and carries approximately 7.5 million passengers a year. UT students, faculty, and staff may ride the shuttles at no charge with a valid UT photo ID. Without a UT photo ID, the charge is $1 for local service and UT shuttle service, and $2.75 for express service.[18]

During the five fiscal years that ended in September 2009, hours of shuttle service declined by 16.3 percent and passengers declined by 28 percent. Capital Metro attributes some of that ridership loss to UT students and staffers moving in greater numbers to regular Capital Metro bus routes, where they also ride for free. During the same period, non-shuttle ridership by UT students and staffers increased to 2.3 million from 1.6 million. Still, combined shuttle and non-shuttle UT ridership has declined.[19]

History[edit]

The relationship between the university and Capital Metro dates to 1989, when the agency took over service that private bus companies had provided for 20 years. Capital Metro offered snazzier buses with air conditioning, but it immediately lengthened the time between some bus runs.[20]

In 1983, the University of Texas received six bids to manage the shuttle system. Capital Metro entered into the picture in 1988, when the university contracted out to them. Capital Metro, in turn, then subcontracted out to Laidlaw International, Inc., who had, up to that point, operated orange and white school buses[21][22] for the university on a contractual basis. Rather than use Laidlaw's existing bus fleet, however, Capital Metro used their own. In so doing, Capital Metro brought air conditioning and wheelchair accessibility to the shuttle service for the first time.[23] The transition, however, was not without controversy. Among the other contested issues was the fact that these new shuttles didn't have a stereo system[24][25]

In 1991, Capital Metro canceled its contract with Laidlaw and contracted out with DAVE Transportation, instead[26][27]

Amidst allegations of union busting, in 1999, Capital Metro canceled its then current contract and instead contracted out with ATC/Vancom, instead[27][28][29] Six years later, in 2005, Capital Metro, citing concerns over the comparatively low wages ATC/Vancom paid, negotiated a contract with First Transit to operate the UT shuttle buses.[30]

Independent of the university shuttle system, Capital Metro has, since September 19, 2002,[31][32] operated so-called "E-Bus" routes, to ferry students between heavily populated student residential areas to within a block of 6th Street. These buses run from 8:00-9:00pm to 3:00am, Thursday through Sunday.[33] The E in "E-Bus" stands for "eating and entertainment" and funding was initially provided for by companies advertising on the bus.[34] On April 1, 2010, the Daily Texan reported that, in an attempt to curb passenger unruliness, Capital Metro was requiring students swipe their student IDs before boarding and that the University of Texas would start paying for some of the services.[35]

Routes[edit]

The UT Shuttle system includes a number of routes during the University of Texas semester. Shuttle service is available on weekdays when classes are in session. They do not operate on Saturdays, except during finals. Prior to September 2014, UT Shuttles primarily used letter abbreviations in the signage on both bus stops and on bus signage, though all routes are both lettered and numbered, in the 600-699 range. Since September 2014, numbered routes have been used exclusively at bus stops, though signage on buses may use either numbered or lettered signage. UT Shuttle routes are primarily served by buses using a special University of Texas livery, though they may on occasion be served by buses in the regular Capital Metro livery. Local fares apply.

Routes are current as of September 2014.

Route Name Destination Notes
640 FA Forty Acres E 23rd at San Jacinto — Guadalupe at W 23rd Circular service, runs clockwise.
641 EC East Campus E 23rd at San Jacinto — UFCU Disch-Falk Field Circular service, runs clockwise. Name was previously DF Disch-Falk.
642 WC West Campus San Jacinto at E 23rd — San Gabriel at W 25th Circular service, runs counterclockwise.
653 RR Red River E 46th at Bennett — E 23rd at Trinity Portions of the route also served by Route 10.
656 IF Intramural Fields E 26th at San Jacinto — Guadalupe at W 51st
661 FW Far West Dean Keeton at Speedway — Village Center Service via Mopac Expressway between W 35th and Far West.
663 LA Lake Austin Whitis at W 21st — Kermit at Jasper Also serves Downtown Austin.
670 CP Crossing Place E 23rd at San Jacinto — 1300 Crossing Place Service via I-35 between E Riverside Drive and E MLK Drive.
671 NR North Riverside E 23rd at San Jacinto — Wickersham at Elmont Service via I-35 between E Riverside Drive and E MLK Drive.
672 LS Lakeshore E 23rd at San Jacinto — Lakeshore at E Riverside Service via I-35 between E Riverside Drive and E MLK Drive.
680 NR/LS North Riverside/Lakeshore E 23rd at San Jacinto — Wickersham at E Riverside Overnight service, served by Route 671 and 672 during daytime. Service via I-35 between E Riverside Drive and E MLK Drive. Signed as "NR/LS Combined Route". Formerly Route 680 NR/WL, but split into two.
681 IF/FW Intramural Fields/Far West E 26th at San Jacinto — Village Center Sunday afternoon and evening service, served by Routes 656 and 661 at other times. Signed as "IF/FW Combined Route". Service via Mopac Expressway between Allandale and Far West.

Former Routes

Route Name Notes
651 CR Cameron Road Formerly Route 51.
652 PRC Pickle Research Campus
CL Campus Loop Split into 2 routes.
662 ER Enfield Road
673 PL Parker Lane
674 BD Burton Drive
675 WL Wickersham Lane Formerly Route 59.
676 PB Parker/Burton
682 BD/PL Burton + Parker
683 ER/LA Enfield Road + Lake Austin
684 CR/RR Cameron Road + Red River
685 WL/CP Wickersham Lane + Crossing Place

Local Service Routes[edit]

Capital Metro's Local routes are intended to connect specific neighborhoods of Austin to Downtown Austin, with frequent stops. Since June 2014, north-south service within downtown Austin for all routes is provided via Lavaca Street northbound and Guadalupe Street southbound, with all routes serving at least one stop along both streets. (Prior to relocating routes to the Guadalupe/Lavaca corridor, many routes formerly utilized Brazos Street northbound and Colorado Street southbound before various construction projects took place. Also, since June 2014, the remaining lines no longer use Congress Avenue between 11th Street and Barton Springs Road.)

East-west service within downtown Austin for all routes is provided via 5th Street eastbound and 4th and 6th Streets westbound, so as to provide a connection along the Lavaca/Guadalupe corridor. Local service is designated by routes 1-99. Local fares apply.

Routes are current as of January 2015.

Route Name Destination Notes
1 Metric / South Congress Tech Ridge Park and Ride via North Lamar Transit Center — E William Cannon at Bluff Springs via South Congress Transit Center Some trips detour via ACC Northridge. Sometimes signed as "1 North Lamar / South Congress via Metric" for historical purposes. Name was originally 1 North Lamar. In 2001, it extended along South Congress, replacing Route 13 South Congress, and the name was changed accordingly. From 2006 to 2014, the Route 1 was split into two routes: 1L, which was North Lamar/South Congress, and 1M, which was Metric/South Congress, replacing route 242 Metric (renamed from 42 Metric in January 2000). In 2014, the section along Lamar became new Route 275. Interlined with Route 7 at southern terminus.
2 Rosewood San Antonio at W 4th — Lott at Chico Interlined with Routes 6, 19, and 37 at western terminus.
3 Burnet / Manchaca Southpark Meadows — Great Hills at Stonelake Interlined with Route 10 at southern terminus and with Route 392 at northern terminus. Name was originally 3 Burnet. In 2001, it extended along Manchaca, replacing Route 12 Manchaca, and the name was changed accordingly.
4 Montopolis Atlanta at Veterans — ACC Riverside
5 Woodrow / South 5th Stagebrush at Monterey Oaks — Northcross Mall Interlined with Route 323 at northern terminus. Name was originally 5 Woodrow. In August 2008, as a result of the elimination of all pairs, it replaced route 16 South 5th.
6 East 12th San Antonio at W 4th — Tannehill at Webberville Interlined with Routes 2, 19, and 37 at western terminus and with Route 323 at eastern terminus.
7 Duval / Dove Springs E William Cannon at Bluff Springs — Rutherford Wal-Mart High-frequency service (15 minutes weekdays, 20 minutes Saturdays)
Some trips detoured via Route 333 routing. Interlined with Route 1 at southern terminus. Name was originally 7 Duval. In August 2008, as a result of the elimination of all pairs, it replaced route 27 Dove Springs, and the name was changed to the current one.
10 South First / Red River Southpark Meadows — Aberdeen at E Rundberg Some trips detoured via I-35 at E 51st. Interlined with Route 3 at southern terminus. Name was originally 10 South First. In August 2008, as a result of the elimination of all pairs, it replaced route 15 Red River, and the name was changed to the current one.
17 Cesar Chavez 8th at Congress — Gardner at Lotus
18 ML King Exposition at Lake Austin — Hefflin at Springdale
19 Bull Creek San Antonio at W 4th — Northcross at Foster Interlined with Routes 2, 6, and 37 at western terminus and with Route 325 at northern terminus.
20 Manor / Riverside ACC Riverside — Loyola at Ed Bluestein Sometimes signed as "20 Manor Road / Riverside" Name was originally 20 Manir. In August 2008, as a result of the elimination of all pairs, it replaced route 26 Riverside.
21
22
Exposition
Chicon
Martinez at E 2nd — Exposition at W 35th Route 21 runs clockwise, Route 22 runs counterclockwise. Signed as "21 Exposition Loop" and "22 Chicon Loop".
30 Barton Creek Square W 8th at Colorado — South Congress Transit Center via Barton Creek Square Mall Signed as "30 Barton Creek".
37 Colony Park San Antonio at W 4th — Wentworth at Loyola Some trips detoured via I-35 at E 51st. Interlined with Routes 2, 6, and 19 at western terminus.

MetroRapid Routes[edit]

Capital Metro's MetroRapid routes is an ostensibly bus rapid transit service (really "Rapid Bus" - mostly a branding exercise) serving high-traffic corridors. The service utilize high-frequency service of 15 minutes weekedays. MetroRapid service is designated by routes 800-899. Premium fares apply, meaning local fares cannot transfer.

Route Name Destination Notes
801 North Lamar / South Congress Tech Ridge Park and Ride — Southpark Meadows Local service provided by Route 1, 201, and 275. Former branch of Route 1.
803 Burnet / South Lamar The Domain — Westgate Mall Local service provided by Route 3.

Limited and Flyer routes[edit]

Capital Metro's Limited and Flyer routes are limited stop services between two destinations. Limited routes tend to have fewer stops compared to their local counterparts, while Flyer routes serve nonstop between downtown or the UT campus and their neighborhoods of service. Limited and Flyer routes are designated by routes 100-199. Premium fares apply.

Route Name Destination Notes
100 MetroAirport Flyer San Jacinto at E 23rd — Austin-Bergstrom International Airport Served primarily by buses carrying the "MetroAirport" livery, though may on occasion be served by buses in the regular livery.
103 Manchaca Flyer Slaughter at Manchaca — Deen Keeton at Guadalupe Rush hour service. Service northbound in the morning peak, and southbound in the afternoon peak. Passengers may not board at points beyond Manchaca at Prather when travelling northbound. Passengers may not board at points beyond N Lamar at W 5th when travelling southbound. Renamed from 65 Manchaca Flyer in 2001.
110 South Central Flyer Minturn at United Kingdom — Red River at E 32nd Rush hour service. Service northbound in the morning peak, and southbound in the afternoon peak. Passengers may not board at points beyond S 1st at Stassney when travelling northbound. Passengers may not board at points beyond S 1st at Barton Springs when travelling southbound. Renamed from 64 Oak Hill Flyer in 2001.
111 South Mopac Flyer Escarpment at South Bay — San Jacinto at Deen Keeton Rush hour service. Service northbound in the morning peak, and southbound in the afternoon peak. Service via Mopac Expressway between W William Cannon and W Cesar Chavez.
122 Four Points Limited Capital Metro headquarters — Lakeline Station via 3M Rush hour service. Service northbound in the morning peak, and southbound in the afternoon peak.
127 Dove Springs Flyer E William Cannon at Bluff Springs — Red River at E 32nd Rush hour service. Service northbound in the morning peak, and southbound in the afternoon peak. Service via I-35 between E Stassney and E Cesar Chavez. Passengers may not board at points beyond E Stassney at I-35 when travelling northbound. Passengers may not board at points beyond E Cesar Chavez at Trinity when travelling southbound. Renamed from 61 Dove Springs Flyer in 2001.
135 Dell Limited E 7th at Pleasant Valley — Tech Ridge Park and Ride Rush hour service. Service northbound in the morning peak, and southbound in the afternoon peak. Service via I-35 between Airport and Parmer.
142 Metric Flyer S Congress at Riverside — Amherst at Duval Rush hour service. Service southbound in the morning peak, and northbound in the afternoon peak. Service via I-35 between MLK and E Rundberg. Passengers may not board at points beyond W Rundberg at N Lamar when travelling southbound. Passengers may not board at points beyond Congress at 18th when travelling northbound. Renamed from 62 Metric Flyer in 2001.
171 Oak Hill Flyer Silver Mine at SR Loop 171 — Red River at E 32nd Rush hour service (with exception of a single reverse peak run midday). Service northbound in the morning peak, and southbound in the afternoon peak. Service via Mopac Expressway between W Cesar Chavez and Old Fredericksburg. Renamed from 63 Oak Hill Flyer in 2001.

Feeder Routes[edit]

Capital Metro's Feeder routes are local services between a neighborhood and a major transfer point for connecting service. Feeder routes are designated by routes 200-299. Local fares apply.

Route Name Destination Notes
201 Southpark Meadows Akins High School — E William Cannon at Bluff Springs Some service short-turns at Southpark Meadows.
214 Northwest Feeder Thunderbird at Dawn — Lakeline Station Renamed from Route 102 Lago Vista Feeder in August 2000. Renamed from Route 214 Lago Vista Feeder.
228 Burleson Metropolis at Veteran's Center — South Congress Transit Center Renamed from Route 328 Ben White in August 2010 (already renamed from route 28 Ben White in January 2000).
233 Far Northeast Feeder Manor at Ed Bluestein — Loyola at Wentworth
237 Northeast Feeder Manor at Ed Bluestein — 9301 Hog Eye
238 Westgate Aftonshire at Nightjar — Western Trail at Sagebrush Created from Part of Route 338.
240 Rutland North Lamar Transit Center — 2501 Parmer / Market Renamed from route 40 Parkfield in January 2000 and from route 240 Parkfield in 2010.
243 Wells Branch Howard Station — Tech Ridge Park and Ride Replaced part of route 242 Metric (which was renamed from Route 42 Quail Valley / Metric in January 2000)
271 Del Valle Flex ACC Riverside — Rass Road Created 2010.
275 North Lamar Feeder North Lamar Transit Center - Tech Ridge Park and Ride Created from part of Route 1 in 2014.

Crosstown Routes[edit]

Capital Metro's Crosstown routes are local services between two neighborhoods of Austin, for which the route does not pass through Downtown Austin or the University of Texas. Crosstown routes are designated by routes 300-399. Local fares apply.

Route Name Destination Notes
300 Govalle North Lamar Transit Center — South Congress Transit Center High-frequency service (15 minutes weekdays, 20 minutes Saturdays)
Interlined with Routes 350 and 383 at northern terminus; renamed from 8 Govalle in February 2002. Extended south from Oltorf & Burton in August 2010 due to elimination of Route 9 Enfield / Travis Heights.
311 Stassney ACC Riverside — Westgate at S Lamar Interlined with Route 338 at western terminus. Renamed from route 111 Stassney in February 2000.
320 St. Johns Burton at Oltorf — Village Center Renamed from route 120 St. Johns in January 2001.
323 Anderson Northcross Mall via North Lamar Transit Center — Webberville at Tannerhill Interlined with Route 5 at western terminus and with Route 6 at eastern terminus. Renamed from 23 Johnny Morris in August 2010.
325 Ohlen Foster at Anderson — Rutherford Wal-Mart High-frequency service (15 minutes weekdays, 20 minutes Saturdays)
Interlined with Route 19 at western terminus. Renamed from 25 Ohlen in February 2000.
331 Oltorf Westgate Mall — ACC Riverside High-frequency service (15 minutes weekdays, 20 minutes Saturdays) Renamed from 31 Oltorf in in February 2001.
333 William Cannon ACC Pinnacle — Onion Creek at Pleasant Valley / Thaxton at Panadero Trips eastbound serve one terminus before serving the other terminus; the first terminus served depends on time of day and day of week. Renamed from 33 William Cannon in February 2000.
338 Lamar / 45th Westgate at Western Trail — Hancock Center Interlined with Route 311 at southern terminus. Renamed from 38 South Lamar in February 2002 due to rerouting away from downtown. Later, one section was renumbered Route 238 Westgate.
350 Airport Boulevard North Lamar Transit Center — Travis County Correctional Complex via Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, ACC Riverside Interlined with Routes 300 and 383 at northern terminus.
383 Research North Lamar Transit Center — Lakeline Station Interlined with Routes 300 and 350 at southern terminus.
392 Braker Great Hills at Stonelake — Tech Ridge Park and Ride Interlined with Route 3 at western terminus.

Special Services[edit]

Capital Metro's Special services are routes that do not fit in any other category. Special Services are designated as routes 400-499. Local fares apply.

Route Name Destination Notes
410 E-Bus West Campus Nueces at W 27th — Colorado at W 6th Late night and overnight service. No service during summer months.
411 E-Bus Riverside Crossing Place — Colorado at W 6th Late night and overnight service. No service during summer months.
412 E-Bus Main Campus Guadalupe at W 21st — Colorado at W 6th Late night and overnight service. No service during summer months.
464 Capitol MetroRail Connector Congress at 18th — MLK Jr. Station Rush hour service.
465 UT MetroRail Connector San Jacinto at E 23rd — MLK Jr. Station
466 Kramer/Domain MetroRail Connector Pickle Research Campus — ACC Northridge via Kramer Station Circular service, runs counterclockwise. Alternates between serving Pickle Research Campus and ACC Northridge.
470 Manor Flex 11923 US 290 - Manor Park & Ride
481 Night Owl North Lamar 6th at Congress — N Lamar at W Rundberg Overnight route. Was named 481 Night Owl North until August 2012.
483 Night Owl Riverside 6th at Congress — Oltorf at Burton Overnight route. Was named 483 Night Owl Southeast until August 2012.
484 Night Owl South Lamar 6th at Congress — Victory at Ben White Overnight route. Section along South 1st eliminated August 2012 and renamed so South 1st was not in the name.
485 Night Owl Cameron 6th at Congress — Rutherford Wal-Mart Overnight route. Consolidated and replaced part of 482 Night Owl East August 2012. Old Route along IH-35 and Cameron eliminated.
486 Night Owl South Congress 6th at Congress — Pleasant Valley at E William Cannon Overnight route. Renamed from 486 Night Owl Dove Springs in August 2012 and rerouted off of William Cannongoing east.
490 HEB Shuttle E Riverside at Pleasant Valley — RBJ Center / E Cesar Chavez at Trinity Midday service only, services four days a week. Monday and Thursday service terminates at E Cesar Chavez at Trinity. Wednesday and Friday service terminates at RBJ Center.
491 Allandale N Lamar at W 38th — Rockwood at Ashdale Midday service only, services Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Curb-to-curb paratransit service operating along fixed route. Renamed from route 151 Allandale.
492 Delwood Hancock Center — Rutherford Wal-Mart Midday service only, services Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Curb-to-curb paratransit service operating along fixed route. Renamed from route 161 Dellwood.

Express Routes[edit]

Capital Metro's Express services are limited stop services that run between Downtown Austin and the far suburbs. Express routes are designated as routes 900-999, and are served exclusively by buses in the red "MetroExpress" livery (though on occasions they may be served by buses in the regular Capital Metro livery as well). Commuter fares apply.

Route Name Destination Notes
935 Tech Ridge Express E Riverside at I-35 — Tech Ridge Park and Ride Rush hour service. Service southbound in the morning peak, and northbound in the afternoon peak. Service via I-35 between MLK Jr. and Parmer. Passengers may not board at any point other than at Tech Ridge Park and Ride when travelling southbound. Some trips are interlined with Route 135 at Tech Ridge Park and Ride.
970 Lantana Express W 4th at Guadalupe — Oak Hill Park and Ride Rush hour reverse-peak service. Service southbound in the morning peak, and northbound in the afternoon peak. Some trips are interlined with Route 982 downtown.
982 Pavilion Express W 4th at Guadalupe — Pavilion Park and Ride Rush hour and midday service. Rush hour service is southbound in the morning peak and northbound in the afternoon peak; midday service is in both directions. Some trips are interlined with Route 970 downtown. Passengers may not board at points past W 38th at N Lamar when travelling in either direction.
983 North US 183 Express W 4th at Guadalupe — Leander Station via Lakeline Station Passengers may not board at points past W 38th at N Lamar when travelling in either direction. Proposed to be eliminated in January 2017.
985 Leander/Lakeline Direct E Riverside at I-35Leander Station via Lakeline Station Rush hour service. Service southbound in the morning peak, and northbound in the afternoon peak. Passengers may not board at points past Lakeline Station when travelling southbound.
987 Leander/Northwest Express E Riverside at I-35Leander Station via Lakeline Station Rush hour service. Service southbound in the morning peak, and northbound in the afternoon peak. Passengers may not board at points past Lakeline Station when travelling southbound.
990 Manor/Elgin Express W 2nd at Guadalupe — Elgin Depot Signed as "990 NE Express". Rush hour service. Service westbound in the morning peak, and eastbound in the afternoon peak. Service between Manor Park and Ride and Elgin Depot is provided by Capital Metro on behalf of CARTS; passengers must pay an additional CARTS fare when travelling past Manor Park and Ride in either direction. Renamed from route 103 Manor Express in August 2000.

MetroRail[edit]

Capital Metro's train service, Capital MetroRail, is designated routes in the 500-599 series. Commuter fares apply.

Route Name Destination Notes
550 Red Line Downtown StationLeander Station Rush hour service to Leander Station only; midday service terminates at Kramer Station or Lakeline Station.

Former Routes[edit]

Route Name Notes
8 Govalle Renamed route 300 Govalle in February 2002.
9 Enfield / Travis Heights Originally named Route 9 Enfield. In August 2008, as a result of the elimination of all pairs, it replaced route 14 Travis Heights, and the name was changed accordingly. Eliminated in August 2010 due to low ridership.
11
12 Manchaca Became an extension of Route 3 Burnet in February 2002.
13 Congress Became an extension of Route 1 North Lamar in February 2002.
14 Travis Heights Became an extension of Route 9 North Lamar in August 2008.
15 Red River Became an extension of Route 10 South First in August 2008.
16 South Fifth / Westgate Became an extension of Route 5 Woodrow in August 2008.
23 Johnny Morris Renamed route 323 Anderson in August 2010 and sections eliminated due to low ridership. This was an exception to the rules until it was eliminated.
24
25 Ohlen Renamed route 325 Ohlen in February 2000.
26 Riverside Became an extension of Route 20 Manor in August 2008.
27 Dove Springs Became an extension of Route 7 Duval in August 2008.
28 Ben White Renamed route 328 Ben White in February 2000.
29 Barton Hills Eliminated in August 2010 due to low ridership. Service along Robert E. Lee Blvd. transferred to route 30 Barton Creek Square. This service was eliminated in August 2012.
31 Oltorf Renamed route 331 Oltorf in in February 2001.
32 Airport Boulevard Combined with route 46 to form route 350 Airport in February 2000.
33 William Cannon Renamed route 333 William Cannon in February 2000.
34 Great Hills Eliminated in February 2000 due to low ridership. One part was transferred to route 383 Research.
35
36
38 South Lamar Renamed route 338 South Lamar in February 2002.
39 Walnut Creek / Koenig Renamed route 339 Walnut Creek / Koenig in February 2001.
40 Parkfield Renamed route 240 Parkfield in February 2000. Part transferred to route 383 Research.
41
42 Quail Valley / Metric Renamed route 242 Metric in February 2000. Route rerouted off of Quail Valley.
43
44 Cedar Bend Renamed route 244 Cedar Bend in February 2000.
45 Copperfield Renamed route 245 Copperfield in February 2000.
46 Bergstrom Combined with route 32 to form route 350 Airport in February 2000.
47
48
49
50
51 Cameron Road Renamed route 651.
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59 Wickersham Renamed route 675.
60
61 Dove Springs Flyer Renamed route 127 Dove Springs Flyer in February 2002.
62 Metric Flyer Renamed route 142 Metric Flyer in February 2002.
63 Oak Hill Flyer Renamed route 171 Oak Hill Flyer in February 2002.
64 South Central Flyer Renamed route 110 South Central Flyer in February 2002.
65 Manchaca Flyer Renamed route 103 Manchaca Flyer in February 2002.
66
67 Cameron Road Flyer Renamed route 137 Colony Park Flyer in February 2002 and rerouted along Route 37 using that route as a base instead.
68
69 IRS/VA Express Eliminated in February 2002 due to low ridership.
70
71 Leander Express Was proposed to be renamed route 985 Leander Express in August 2000, but name change was used in addiction to previous name. Split into five routes in February 2002.
72
73
74 North Burnet Flyer Renamed route 174 North Burnet Flyer in February 2001.
86 Congress/Capitol 'Dillo
87 ACC/Lavaca 'Dillo
88 Old Pecan Street 'Dillo
89 'Dillo Dash
90 HEB Shuttle Renamed route 490 HEB Shuttle in February 2001.
101 North Lamar Limited
102 Lago Vista Feeder
103 Northeast Express
111 Stassney Renamed route 311 Stassney in February 2000.
120 St. Johns Renamed route 320 St. Johns in February 2001.
137 Colony Park Flyer
151 Allandale
161 Delwood
174 North Burnet Limited
202 Battle Bend
203 Buckingham Circulator
204 Southwest Oaks Circulator
205 East Lakeline
206 West Lakeline
242 Metric
244 Cedar Bend
245 Copperfield
252 Buckingham Slaughter
328 Ben White Renamed from 28 Ben White in February 2000. Eliminated August 2010 and service west of Congress rerouted to Congress Transit Center and became an extension of route 30 Barton Creek Square. Service east of Congress remained and rerouted to Congress Transit Center and renamed route 228 Burleson.
339 Walnut Creek / Koenig Renamed from route 39 Walnut Creek / Koenig in February 2001. Eliminated August 2010; east of IH-35 became part of the new 323 Anderson and West of IH-35 became part of the 320 St. Johns.
391 Parmer
420 Convention Shuttle North
421 Convention Shuttle South
422 Convention Shuttle Town Lake
430 Pease Elem & Kealing
431 Campbell Elem & Kealing
432 TX Academy & Kealing
440 Tech Ridge Circulator
450 Orange 'Dillo
451 Silver 'Dillo renamed from route 88 Old Pecan Street Dillo in May 2000
455 Red 'Dillo
456 Gold 'Dillo
462 Blue 'Dillo number later reused
463 Starlight 'Dillo
464 Moonlight 'Dillo number later reused
470 Tour the Town
482 Night Owl East Consolidated with route 485 Night Owl Cameron and section along Rosewood east of Airport, Springdale, 7th and other roads to Downtown eliminated.
495 Dell
499 Day Labor
984 Northwest Direct via IH35 Consolidated with route 986 below to form 985 Leander/Lakeline Direct.
985 Leander Express Alternative name, but still referred to as route 71 Leander Express. Split into five routes in February 2002.
986 Leander Direct via IH35 Consolidated with route 984 above to form 985 Leander/Lakeline Direct.

Vehicles[edit]

The majority of the current bus fleet consists of vehicles produced by two manufacturers, Gillig and New Flyer, with only relatively small generational design variations, most visibly in the use of flip-dot destination displays on older series versus LED displays on newer buses. A few smaller series of buses were acquired from other manufacturers, notably Optima (used preferentially on MetroRail shuttles) and MCI (used on express services). Older bus series produced by TMC and Blue Bird are no longer in service.

Capital MetroRapid[edit]

Main article: Capital MetroRapid

In January 2014, Capital Metro launched an bus rapid transit service branded "MetroRapid," utilizing articulated buses operating in shared lanes with automobile traffic. Service on the first route, MetroRapid North Lamar/South Congress (Route 801), began on January 26, 2014.[36] It replaced existing bus Routes 1L and 1M, as well as the 101 Express, which traveled along the same corridor. Route 801 has drawn protest from citizens for implementing high premium fares, as well as increasing the headways on Route 1 Metric/South Congress.[3] Ridership has been lower than what the agency ideally envisioned because fares are no longer local.

A second route, MetroRapid Burnet/South Lamar (Route 803), serves a total of 34 stations between The Domain and Westgate.[37]

Capital MetroRail[edit]

Austin Metrorail train at Downtown Station.
Main article: Capital MetroRail

In 2004, after four years of additional lobbying by Capital Metro, Capital Metro won approval to build a commuter rail on existing freight rail lines. In September 2005, Capital Metro awarded a contract to Stadler Rail to build six diesel-electric rail cars for the system,[38] each possessing a capacity of up to 230 passengers. The initial cost for this rail line was planned to be $90 million; however, continued construction problems and safety issues caused the project to exceed budget and to be delayed.[39][40] The Capital MetroRail opened March 22, 2010.

Fare structure[edit]

Capital Metro Public Information and Fare Office in the McKean-Eilers Building in Downtown Austin

Capital Metro operates routes using four different fare classes: Local, Premium, Commuter and Access. Fares are valid for a single trip only; Capital Metro does not issue bus transfers. However, Capital Metro offers passengers an unlimited ride day pass, good for travel on any route of the same or lower fare class, for the price of two single fares of the corresponding fare class. 24- hour, 7-day passes and 31-day passes are also available for frequent riders.

Passes may be purchased in physical form in select retailers, or at MetroRail stations (Commuter fare class only). Passes are also available for purchase when boarding a bus for the same or higher fare class. Passes may be purchased in digital form via the Capital Metro app.

All fare information is current as of January 2015.

Fare Type Local Premium Commuter
Single Ride $1.25 $1.75 $3.50
Reduced Single Ride $0.60 $0.85 $1.75
Day Pass $2.50 $3.50 $7
Reduced Day Pass $1.25 $1.75 $3.50
7-Day Pass $11.25 $16.75 $27.50
31-Day Pass $41.25 $62 $96.25
Reduced 31-Day Pass $20.60 $31 $48.10
A † indicates a fare a passenger can pay once on board a vehicle.

Holders of valid Reduced Fare IDs issued by Capital Metro (to seniors 65 and over, Medicare card holders, persons with disabilities, students 6-18 with valid school identification, and active and reserve military with valid ID) may ride Capital Metro services for half the listed price. Capital Metro also offer stored value tickets in denominations of $20 and $40.

Holders of physical passes must swipe the magnetic stripe on their pass when boarding a bus. Holders of stored value tickets must tap their tickets when boarding a bus. Holders of digital passes must scan their passes in a QR code reader aboard MetroRapid buses, or shown to the driver on all other buses. MetroRail operates on a proof-of-payment system; passengers must show proof upon request. Holders of the Reduced Fare ID must first tap their card against a bus reader before paying the appropriate fare.

Fares are waived for passengers under 6 with an accompanying adult (limit 3), as well as emergency and military personnel in uniform. Through separate paid agreements with Capital Metro, students, faculty, and staff of both the University of Texas and Austin Community College, as well as City of Austin employees, may ride all Capital Metro services for no charge with valid identification.

Capital MetroAccess, the paratransit system operated by Capital Metro, operates on a separate fare scale:

Fare Type Price
Single Ride $1.75
10-Ride Ticket Book $17.50
Monthly Pass $46.50

Persons eligible to use MetroAccess services may ride on Capital Metro buses and trains at the reduced rate. Holders of the MetroAccess monthly pass may use their pass as a Capital Metro 31-Day Commuter pass.

Finances and governance[edit]

Capital Metro headquarter building

Board of directors[edit]

The board of directors was changed once again through state legislation in 2010 to increase the total number of board members from seven to eight. The new law also reduces the number of elected officials who are required to serve on the board, and institutes new requirements regarding the professional experience of certain appointees. The new board will consist of three members appointed by the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, including an elected official; one member representing the small cities in Capital Metro's service area; a member each appointed by the Travis County Commissioners and Williamson County commissioners; and two members appointed by the Austin City Council, in which one must be a member of the Austin City Council.[41]

Labor relations[edit]

As a public entity, Capital Metro is prohibited by Texas law from entering into a traditional collective bargaining agreement with a labor union in the United States. In 1991, however, to comply fully with a state law prohibiting public entities from supervising unionized employees with collective bargaining rights,[42] the Capital Metro board determined that its unionized employees and their supervisors should be transferred to a separate non-profit company. In January 1992, Capital Metro created Startran, Inc., a private entity that acts as the authority's agent in managing its unionized workforce.[43]

On the other hand, Metro drivers and mechanics are represented by the Amalgamated Transit Union, a major labor union representing workers in the transit system that boasts over 188,000 members representing workers.[44][45] StarTran and the AUT have in the past had troubled contract negotiations, that most recently resulted in a general strike in November 2008.[46]

In 2008, StarTran voted to begin a general strike, despite the fact that StarTran employees were already the highest paid bus operators in the state.[47] Beginning on November 5, 2008, the strike caused the transit agency to reduce its fixed and paratransit service levels, particularly impacting Austin residents who had to use public transit.[48] During the strike, the agency initially provided only those routes on the contingency map for a reduced number of hours but added others as resources became available. The Sunset Advisory Commission released its report on Capital Metro in April 2010.

Capital Metro also contracts with two other service providers for bus operations, First Transit, Veolia Transport and the Capital Area Rural Transportation System. First Transit provides shuttle service for University of Texas students, faculty and staff.[11]

North Lamar Transit Center

Budget[edit]

2010 Actual Budget[49]
Operating Revenues $28.04 M
Passenger Fares $9 M
Contract Fares $6.76 M
MetroRail $495 K
Freight Rail $11.77 M
Operating Expenses $164.70 M
Non-Operating Revenues $178.23 M
Build Central Texas Program $3.7 M
Change in Net Assets $9.36 M

Future expansion[edit]

Plans have been circulating since a failed light rail vote in 2000 about urban rail in Austin. A vote on urban rail, on either light rail or a streetcar system, was initially planned to be put to the voters as early as 2012.[50] The light rail expansion plan presented to voters failed in 2014.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Riding Capital Metro - Capital Metro Transit - Austin, Texas". Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority - Austin, Texas. Retrieved 2011-06-23. 
  2. ^ "Linda Watson, President/CEO". Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved January 2, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Dunbar, Wells (31 January 2014). "Is Capital Metro's New MetroRapid Service Leaving Bus Riders Behind?". kut.org. KUT News. Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  4. ^ News 8 Austin Staff (February 18, 2010). "Capital Metro: Mass Transit, Mass Confusion". News 8 Austin. Retrieved January 2, 2010. 
  5. ^ Perone, Jennifer and Joel Volinski (2003). "Fare, Free or Something in Between" (PDF). Center for Urban Transportation Research, University of South Florida. Retrieved January 2, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Public Transit, Public Trust". John Sharp, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. Retrieved 2007-09-10. 
  7. ^ "Sharp Report Offers 147 Recommendations to Improve Operations and Restore Public Trust in Capital Metro" (Press release). Texas State Comptroller. 1998-07-15. 
  8. ^ "A Critical Analysis of the Austin Light Rail Proposal" (PDF). Texas Public Policy Foundation. Retrieved 2007-09-10. 
  9. ^ Vess, Jessica (March 5, 2010). "Capital Metro rail to open March 22". KVUE Television. Retrieved January 2, 2010. 
  10. ^ http://www.kxan.com/news/local/austin/woman-hit-by-capmetro-bus-dies
  11. ^ a b "History: Capital Metro's Life Story". Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved January 2, 2011. 
  12. ^ Gregor, Katherine (April 16, 2010). "Cap Metro: Doing the Quarter Cent Shuffle". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved January 2, 2011. 
  13. ^ Wear, Ben (January 27, 2010). "Capital Metro Balks at Paying Debt to City". Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved January 2, 2010. 
  14. ^ Gregor, Katherine (April 16, 2010). "Gone and Quartered: Stiffed on Capital Metro money, the city scrambles to fund another $51 million for transportation projects". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved January 2, 2010. 
  15. ^ "Interactive Maps". Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved 2011-06-23. 
  16. ^ [1][dead link]
  17. ^ Ben Wear. "Cap Metro opens door to suburban transit service". Austin America-Statesman. Archived from the original on 2008-07-03. Retrieved 2008-07-01. 
  18. ^ "Shuttles". UT Parking and Transportation Services. Retrieved January 2, 2011. 
  19. ^ Wear, Ben (July 18, 2010). "UT's Shuttle Subsidy Under Scrutiny". Austin American=Statesman. Retrieved January 2, 2011. 
  20. ^ "A Battle on the Shuttle". The Austin Chronicle. May 21, 2004. Retrieved 2008-08-25. 
  21. ^ "Capital Metro: Is It Worth the Wait?". Cactus Yearbook. May 1990. Retrieved 2008-08-25. 
  22. ^ "Capital Metro: Is It Worth the Wait?". Cactus Yearbook. May 1990. Retrieved 2008-08-25. 
  23. ^ "City buses take over UT shuttle system". The Daily Texan. August 10, 1989. 
  24. ^ "Capital Metro debut earns mixed reviews". The Daily Texan. August 29, 1989. 
  25. ^ "Shuttle drivers argue need for some "friendly sounds' on". The Daily Texan. August 29, 1989. 
  26. ^ "DAVE wins bid to run run shuttle system". The Daily Texan. June 3, 1991. 
  27. ^ a b "Transit Union Takes Bus Company to the End of the Line". UT Watch. March 1999. Retrieved 2008-08-25. 
  28. ^ "Shuttle disputes go round and round". The Daily Texan. February 17, 2004. Retrieved 2008-08-25. [dead link]
  29. ^ "Cap Metro hires new maintenance contractor". The Daily Texan. January 26, 1999. 
  30. ^ "Cap Metro Switches UT Shuttle Providers". The Austin Chronicle. March 4, 2005. Retrieved 2008-08-25. 
  31. ^ "Cap Metro warns rowdy E-Bus riders". The Daily Texan. March 25, 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-01. 
  32. ^ "Sixth Street shuttle bus to start running tonight". The Daily Texan. September 19, 2002. 
  33. ^ "Special Services: Getting Around Downtown Bus Routes 400-499". Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Austin, Texas. Retrieved 2011-06-23. 
  34. ^ "Shuttle to take partiers downtown". The Daily Texan. August 28, 2002. 
  35. ^ "E-Bus moves toward stricter policies, monitoring". The Daily Texan. April 1, 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-01. 
  36. ^ Aaron, Michael (26 January 2014). "Capital Metro rolls out MetroRapid, new fares". kxan.com. KXAN News. Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  37. ^ "Routes and Destinations". Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  38. ^ "Stadler Wins Commuter Rail Car Award with Capital Metro" (Press release). Stadler. September 23, 2005. 
  39. ^ Wear, Ben. "Ding, Ding, Ding Goes the Commuter Train". Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved 2007-09-10. 
  40. ^ Wear, Ben (2008-09-30). "Feds OK Cap Metro's passenger rail cars". The Austin American-Statesman. 
  41. ^ "Changes to the Capital Metro Board". Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved January 2, 2011. 
  42. ^ "StarTran, Inc., Docket No. 02-1140". US Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. July 23, 2003. Retrieved 2008-08-25. 
  43. ^ Robuck, Bob (April 7, 2010). "Mass Transit, Mass Confusion: Problems with labor". News 8 Austin. Retrieved January 2, 2011. 
  44. ^ "ATU 1549 History". Retrieved 2008-11-18. 
  45. ^ "History of the UT Shuttle System". Retrieved 2008-11-18. 
  46. ^ Austin Business Journal staff (November 7, 2008). "Capital Metro Adding Routes as Strike Continues". Retrieved January 2, 2011. 
  47. ^ "VIEWPOINT: "Forecasting a bus strike"". The Daily Texan. August 25, 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-25. 
  48. ^ "Contingency Plan: "Core Routes"" (PDF). Capital Metro. November 1, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-01. 
  49. ^ "Approved Annual Budget Fiscal Year 2010, pg. 41" (PDF). Capital Metropolitan Transport Authority. Retrieved 2008-09-09. 
  50. ^ Lee Nichols. "Why Rail?". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 2011-03-08. 

External links[edit]