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Capital Metro Sees Big Numbers Over F1 Weekend 

Agency deems special event service successful 

Austin, Texas, Nov. 21, 2012 – Capital Metro has crunched the numbers following the Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix last weekend and is pleased that large numbers of visitors and locals were able to use its expanded services to get into the city, out to the COTA shuttle site and around to downtown area festivities.

“As the public transportation leader in our region, people were depending on Capital Metro to move thousands around the city,” says Linda S. Watson, Capital Metro president/CEO. “I’m happy to report that Capital Metro delivered.” 

Ridership on MetroRail, which ran extended service on Saturday, and for the first time ever, service on Sunday, surged during F1 weekend. Friday’s service saw a 67 percent increase from regular ridership (5,500 vs. 3,300 trips) and a 435 percent increase in ridership on Saturday (6,300 vs. 1,200 trips), due in part to the extended hours offered. On Sunday, 1,900 trips were recorded.

Although final ridership figures are not available yet for the free Downtown Loop circulator bus that ran Nov. 16 -18, preliminary numbers show the service ran smoothly and was very popular. It had especially heavy ridership both before and after racing events at the track all weekend long, and also saw increased numbers riding during evening festivities in the downtown core.

As a testament to Capital Metro’s focus on customer service, the agency recruited over 100 volunteers to assist at rail platforms, bus stops, and around the Formula 1 downtown shuttle site during the weekend. The volunteers included many Capital Metro staff, MetroAmbassador volunteers, a Capital Metro board member and representatives from Capital Metro contractors LeFleur, First Transit and McDonald Transit. Some volunteers worked late into the night on rail platforms and other areas to ensure people got back home safely.

The agency also provided extensive outreach and customer service via social media over the Formula 1 weekend, answering questions and oftentimes providing up-to-the-minute service updates so riders would know when their buses or trains would be arriving or departing.

Part of Capital Metro’s mobility planning for the special event included a demonstration of its first mobile ticketing app. Since the app’s introduction on October 28, it has been downloaded nearly 4,000 times. The app gives access to maps, schedules and detours, and also gives users the ability to buy fares and use their smartphones as transit passes. The app demonstration project will end on Nov. 24, and Capital Metro will use the data and feedback gleaned from the project to further develop a permanent mobile ticketing solution.

Additional Stats During Formula 1: 

  • MetroAirport service, which ran at 15-minute intervals between the airport and downtown during the weekend, saw a 26 percent increase in use on Friday, Nov. 16 and a 34 percent increase on Saturday, Nov. 17. All total, over 3,300 people used the service between Nov. 15-19 (a jump of 23 percent over regular service).
  • On their three-mile loop around downtown, Capital Metro's six circulator buses traveled a combined 1,600 miles over F1 weekend, equivalent to a trip from Austin to Denver and back.
  • Extra trains and buses were put into service to handle overflow crowds at some rail stations over the weekend, ensuring a ride for anyone who wanted to get back and forth between the downtown area.
  • Overall website traffic went up 55% during F1 weekend from the previous weekend (157,000 visits vs. 243,000 visits).
  • Over 25,000 people visited the special F1 section on the website.
  • The website’s trip planner saw a 30% increase in use.
  • Volunteers handed out 15,000 Capital Metro maps and 6,000 city brochures Nov. 16-18.
  • The GO Line experienced a 19 percent increase in call volume from Nov. 15-19.


“Working together, our region was prepared for this event, hands down,” notes Watson. “After seeing the numbers, hearing the feedback from the community and our visitors, and after our own evaluation, Capital Metro knocked it out of the park.”







(Additional hi-res photos available by request. Also, view all photos taken during Formula 1 weekend on Capital Metro's Facebook page.) 


Selection of tweets from customers during Formula 1 

Fernando R.: Great service yesterday. Thanks to downtown loop and #411 drivers at 12:00am very kind and helpful. Fernando from Mty, México. (Nov. 17)

Liam B.: Hey Cap Metro thanks for keeping things moving Downtown this weekend and for the extra trains. Job well done! (Nov. 18)

Joe B.: @CapMetroATX @AustinTexasGov Gotta say, it appears that the city, Cap Metro, and other orgs are hitting a home run during #ATXF1! (Nov. 18)


Capital Metro’s mission is to connect people, jobs and communities by providing high-quality and sustainable transportation choices for our community. Capital Metro boasts the highest per capita ridership in Texas, providing an average of 110,000 rides each weekday onboard its local, flyer and express bus routes and Capital MetroRail, the region’s first commuter rail system. Capital Metro also provides MetroAccess service for passengers with disabilities, van and carpool coordination, and freight rail service.  For more information, including an online trip planner and a commute cost calculator, visit or call (512) 474-1200.

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Francine Pares, (512) 389-7435, (949) 244-4574 cell, 

Melissa Ayala, (512) 389-7572, (972) 765-3642 cell,