“It feels pretty great to fly by in that transit only lane.”
“50 road closures. 50 accidents an hour and the #metrorapid was on schedule this morning.”
Waiting in warm sun
New bus stop smell, shiny bus
We zoom across town
And here is an account from a first time Rapid rider traveling all the way from Southpark Meadows. Laura is a drive-alone downtown commuter looking for a more convenient, less stressful way to get into work each day. MetroRapid may just be the answer! Here’s her take:
“I live in Manchaca in southern Travis County and, prior to MetroRapid, my only options for transportation other than driving alone in my car were a carpool, vanpool or Cap Metro 201/10 routes. My work day begins early so it was difficult to find others to commute with and the thought of taking two buses that had close to approximately 40 stops was not appealing to me.
I thought I would be stuck driving my car until next decade. Then came MetroRapid.
Rapid appealed to me from the beginning for many reasons.
- Close to home – a less than 10 minute drive from my house to the bus stop.
- Parking at the mall, not the greatest place to leave my car all day yet more appealing than unattended in a high school parking lot.
- Fewer stops means a faster trip downtown.
- Amenities: new buses, Wi-Fi, tracking built into the bus so online arrival times that could be accurate.
I decided I would take the Rapid bus the first day it opened. Here is my account of that ride.
Sunday night came around and I realized I had no cash for Monday morning. I would get some for Tuesday.
Tuesday was the “morning-rush-ice-storm” so I wound up putting in a couple work hours remotely instead of going into work downtown.
Wednesday Morning: The big day! I had my $3.00! I got to Southpark Meadows and found a spot to park near the pet store, not too remote, not too close to a business. I had my coffee. I walked up to the door. My coffee was in a plastic cup with no lid. I had to pour it out (only beverages in containers with lids are allowed. Lesson learned.) I got on, slipped in my $3.00 and got my day pass. Marge, the very friendly and helpful driver (yes, she did make me pour out my coffee but she doesn’t make the rules) told me it was good for 24 hours. She pointed out that if I make it to the bus tomorrow morning before the time on my day pass, I could get one more trip out of it. Excellent tip. The trip took about 25 minutes, the same amount of time it takes me to drive in (full disclosure: my hours are 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. so not peak rush hour.) Actually, got to work a few minutes early. Pleasant experience all the way around.
Wednesday Afternoon: Had my pass, waited at the stop. Got out of the office a little late, around 4:20 and must have arrived there just after one bus passed because I waited about 20 minutes. Traffic was heavy all around. I entered through one of the large side doors where an APD officer and CapMetro Fare Enforcement Officer were there to greet me. I took my seat toward the front. More passengers with me here than on the ride in. It was great to actually be able see the view as we rode along (it was dark outside when I came to work.) Observed my fellow passengers; as suspected, most using their phones to listen to music, text, watch programs, etc. We moved along, although not as quickly as when I came into work. Then we started slowing down due to traffic. Then we REALLY started slowing down due to heavy traffic. (I think “Note to self: Make sure I leave right 4:00 p.m. and maybe there will be less traffic and things will move along faster on the ride home.”) Checked clock on phone at half hour,:45 mins, an hour … finally got to Southpark Meadows 1:10 minutes after I boarded. Kind of a drag. Got home about 6:15, about 1.5 hours after leaving work. When I got home, learned that there was an accident with 18-wheelers on southbound I-35 that dumped all the after work traffic onto the surface streets. Maybe the next ride home will not take so long.
Looking forward to taking the #801 more this week!”