Capital Metro Board Approves Major System Overhaul

December 18, 2017 by Kate Harrington

Capital Metro is making one of the biggest overhauls ever undertaken on its bus system, to go into effect next June.

The changes will affect more than half of its 82 bus routes, increasing the frequency on some, adding new routes, and eliminating others.

There will be 14 high-frequency routes under the new plan, with departures leaving at least every 15 minutes, seven days a week. Among the 10 new routes that Capital Metro is adding is the 980 North MoPac Express, which will operate on weekdays from Round Rock to downtown Austin and take advantage of the MoPac managed lanes.

The boost in frequency has been hailed by transit advocates who say that more frequency will lead to better ridership, and more realistic options for those who might want to try transit as an alternative to driving.

The new plan also eliminates 13 existing routes, which drew criticism from some residents.

Finally, the plan that goes into effect in June will tweak some of the routes so that they run on a more grid-like pattern, instead of winding through neighborhoods. Capital Metro says that the increased frequency and better-connected routes should help riders whose regular routes are being eliminated, and will also make transfers easier.

Capital Metro, like many transit systems in the United States, has seen ridership numbers decrease in recent years. But the agency has seen a big jump in ridership more than 33 percent year to date in August – on the routes where enhanced frequency went into effect.

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Written by Kate Harrington

Kate is a former reporter, most recently for the Austin Business Journal, where she covered real estate, economic development and transportation. Since 2010 she has been running Thumbtack Communications. Thumbtack provides writing, editing and marketing services. Before moving to Austin in 2002 Kate lived in her native New England, which she still visits often to escape the Texas heat.