Capital Metro’s board of directors has given the green light to the Connections 2025 plan, paving the way for some major changes to Austin’s transit system.
Connections 2025 will guide the agency’s decisions over the next five years, as well as long-range changes over the next 10 years. The main theme of the proposed changes within the plan is frequency: changes to Capital Metro’s bus network will include four MetroRapid routes that run every seven to 15 minutes; 13 frequent local routes that run every 15 minutes; 23 local routes that run every 30 minutes; four downtown circulator routes; and eight express routes that will take advantage of the new MoPac express lanes once they’re completed.
Capital Metro leadership says by investing in key corridors it will build core frequent service and ridership while reducing wait times.
“Today, our board showed its dedication to improving transportation in Central Texas through smart planning,” said Capital Metro President/CEO Linda Watson. “Major investments to build a better bus network will kick-off in 2018, and will continue paying off over the next 10 years. Austin desperately needs more mobility options, and this plan delivers the type of innovation and services people want.”
The Connections 2025 plan began a year ago with feedback from the public and help from consultant Transportation Management and Design Inc. There will be more opportunities for public input, however, as changes outlined in the plan will require public comments and votes by the board.
Capital Metro says the first year of operations of the new network is expected to cost an additional $9 million, bringing the total to an estimated $267.8 million compared to $259 million for the existing system.
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.