The Students Are Coming, The Students Are Coming!

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 3.00.14 PMThe dog days of August are here, but these sleepy summer days also mark the close to Austin’s light summer traffic. College students are returning and many families are wrapping up vacations and preparing to chauffeur kids to school.

Savvy commuters know when to use the different options available to them, and sometimes when summertime traffic is light, driving may be the easiest option for you. Maybe the lighter traffic and the heat have shifted the balance for your own commute, and you’re driving alone where you normally wouldn’t. Or perhaps you were all ready to try out a new option, but June rains or the heat in July and August deterred you.  Now’s the time to shake off that summertime complacency, though; school will soon be back in session, and that means traffic is about to get a whole lot worse.

Instead of just waking up some morning soon and becoming stuck in that traffic, you can make a plan now that keeps you out of the jam – or at least helps you avoid the frustrations of traffic and lets you read emails or do work instead of driving yourself. Here are ways to get ready.

  • Tune up your bike. If you haven’t been riding much this summer, it’s a good idea to air up your tires and check your brakes. Many local bike shops offer bicycle maintenance and repair for a reasonable rate – find one near you. There are also two community bike shops where you can get free help and learn how to fix your own bike: Austin’s Yellow Bike Project and UT Austin’s Orange Bike Project. Bicycle Sports Shop also offers free maintenance classes. Once your bike is ready, make sure you know how to stay cool! Here are some handy tips from RideScout and Bike Austin.
  • Get familiar with the Capital Metro service changes. In June, Capital Metro increased frequency on the 7, 20, 300, 325, and 331 routes. They also rolled out a redesigned system map and several other service tweaks. The next round of service changes will take effect on August 23rd.
  • Share a Ride.  Check in with your carpool buddy. See when they get back from vacation, and ensure that your schedules are still matching up. Then pick a day to start! Or find a new carpool buddy. If something has changed – or if you’re new to the carpool scene – there are several helpful matching tools you can use. Carma is a mobile app that connects travelers to share rides, and also facilitates passengers pitching in for gas costs. MyCommuteSolutions makes it easy to find rides and track your commutes. And you can always try asking around your office to see if anyone lives nearby.
  • Leave earlier or later.  As long as your employer OKs it, you could come in before 7am or after 9am and leave before 4pm or after 6pm.  You miss the worst of traffic, so your commute is much faster and it helps everyone. If you have to be at work 8-5, ask if you can work remotely to miss traffic.
  • Not sure where to start? Our friendly Travel Advisors can help you find the commute solution that fits your schedule and lifestyle. Contact Alix at to learn more.

photo via KUT

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