Capital Metro’s draft transit plan will now move forward, after the agency’s board voted to approve it on Feb. 27. For transit riders, that will mean more frequency, more MetroRapid routes, and new downtown circulator routes, among other features.
In response to feedback from people around Central Texas, Capital Metro’s updated network will take a frequency-first approach, tripling the number of bus routes running every 15 minutes or better, Capital Metro said of the plan. Transit providers in other cities, from Houston to Portland, have taken similar steps to invest in key corridors and build core frequent service and ridership, while reducing waiting times. Capital Metro’s new plan is designed to create a 24/7 transit system that will see expanded MetroExpress and MetroRapid service, and more east-west options.
Key features on the new system include:
- 2 fare types (Local and Commuter)
- 4 MetroRapid routes (running every 7-15 minutes)
- 13 Frequent Local routes (running every 15 minutes)
- 23 Local routes (running every 30 minutes)
- 4 downtown circulator routes
- 6 UT Shuttles
- 8 Express routes
The Connections 2025 plan will guide the evolution of Capital Metro’s service over the next five years, and identifies long-range opportunities over the next 10 years. Each implementation phase will require a subsequent public hearing process, and review and approval by the Capital Metro board.
Later this year, Capital Metro will begin hosting public open houses to discuss the first significant phase of changes, anticipated for spring 2018. Changes stemming from Connections 2025 that have already received board approval include the fare restructure implemented on Jan. 8, and improvements to Express service that will operate in the MoPac Managed Lanes.
For employers and employees, the new features mean more opportunities to connect with options that free commuters from driving alone during rush hour. The new Express Bus routes combined with the MoPac express lanes will bring a new transit option into play for more suburban commuters, and greater frequency in the MetroBus and MetroRapid routes will make it easier to use the bus to get to a meeting or work on time.