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Capital Metro Celebrates 30 Years Of Service


Capital Metro is celebrating 30 years of service to Austin and surrounding communities around Central Texas this year. Founded in July 1985, the agency has led the way in bringing better transit options and mobility to the rapidly growing region through its partnerships with the city, community and other transportation providers, and also through its pursuit, and wins, of tens of millions of dollars in state and federal funds that have allowed it to expand service offering to the public.

The agency has also improved its financial transparency and accountability, having been recognized by the Texas Comptroller with its highest rating the last five consecutive years. The agency has also taken a leadership role towards improving regional mobility by playing a major part in initiatives like the Project Connect high-capacity regional system, and agreements with cities outside its service area to deliver much needed service to rapidly growing communities, such as Round Rock, Buda, Georgetown and others.

”We’re taking this opportunity to recognize Capital Metro’s successes to date, and to look forward to where we’ll be in 30 years and beyond with all of the exciting initiatives already in motion and in planning,” said Capital Metro President/CEO Linda S. Watson. “As we continue to invest for our region’s future, the agency is constantly looking for ways to create a more convenient system with more connections for our current and potential riders.”

Some of Capital Metro’s major accomplishments over the years include:

  • Providing over 837 million total rides to Central Texans.
  • Launching MetroRail commuter service in 2010, then adding midday and evening weekend service, helping ridership more than quadruple.
  • Introducing MetroRapid service in 2014, Austin’s first frequency-based bus rapid transit line, with ridership already meeting projections.
  • Introducing one of the first mobile apps in the country that offers mobile ticketing.
  • Reaching 100 percent accessibility to persons with disabilities in 1992, the first transit agency in Texas to achieve that goal.
  • Constructing 12 Park & Rides throughout the region to expand service beyond Austin, connecting communities as far away as Leander, Manor and Lago Vista.
  • Rolling out real-time departure information on MetroRail and MetroRapid in 2014, and then across the entire local bus fleet in 2015.

Looking forward, Capital Metro plans to add capacity and increase frequency on MetroRail, redevelop the underutilized 11-acre Plaza Saltillo property in east Austin, revamp and enlarge the downtown MetroRail station, continue partnering with the City of Austin and suburban communities to optimize existing MetroRapid routes and expand service to additional corridors, continue enhancing last-mile connections to make taking transit even easier, and in June, increase the frequency of several popular routes around town to every 15 minutes with the launch of the first in a series of planned Frequent Transit Networks.

Rider Appreciation Events - As part of a larger effort to recognize this important milestone, Capital Metro will be hosting rider appreciation events during the year, where employees will greet riders with music, refreshments and eco-friendly products at high-traffic stops throughout the city.

The first events will be held on Earth Day, April 22 at North Lamar Transit Center (7-9 a.m.), UT’s West Mall MetroRapid Station (11 a.m.-1 p.m.) and the Downtown MetroRail Station (3-5 p.m.). The celebration events are meant to thank riders not only for their part in protecting Austin’s environment, but also for contributing to Capital Metro’s success over the last 30 years.

“We owe our successes and milestones over the years to our riders,” Watson said. “These celebrations will help us say thank you, and show just how important our relationship with them is to us.”

This summer, the agency will release a series of videos highlighting longtime employees, bus operators and others, who will share their most interesting Capital Metro stories, and also discuss how changes in technology have helped shape the agency’s growth. Additional ridership celebration events will occur later this fall.

For more information, visit capmetro.org.

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