Capital Metro Board Approves Major Bus Network Overhaul

Plan emphasizes frequency of service, improves connectivity

AUSTIN, Texas - Capital Metro's board of directors today voted to put in place the most significant changes to the agency's bus service in its history. The transformation of the bus network will go into effect June 3, 2018.

The transit agency began preparation for this change in October 2015, when planners initiated work on the Connections 2025 Transit Plan. The decision will bring changes to more than half of Capital Metro's 82 bus routes. The High-Frequency Network will increase from six to 14 routes, improving bus frequencies to 15-minute intervals, seven days a week. The changes will also greatly improve east-west connections.

“I couldn't be more excited about this agency's future,” said Linda Watson, Capital Metro's president/CEO. “The changes envisioned in the Connections 2025 plan and approved by the board today will ensure Capital Metro continues to bring the best possible service to the people of Central Texas.”

The board of directors approved the Connections 2025 Transit Plan in February, and it will guide the direction of Capital Metro's service planning for the next 10 years. Connections 2025's central idea is to emphasize increased frequency as the best method of improving service and increasing ridership.

Capital Metro implemented the High-Frequency Network, which includes four Local routes, in 2015. In its first full year of service, each of the routes saw ridership increases. While that improvement was moderate for two routes, the other two experienced significant increases of 15 and 37 percent.

Capital Metro staff members have gone out to the public dozens of times since beginning work on the plan, and thousands of Central Texas residents and Capital Metro customers shaped the creation of the Connections 2025 Transit Plan. Their input informed multiple refinements to the June 2018 service changes prior to the board's approval.

Between board approval and June 3, 2018, Capital Metro staff will continue this outreach to the community in an effort to educate riders and the public in general about the changes.

While the impending bus network overhaul will be the most significant of the changes coming from Connections 2025, several of the plan's recommendations have already been put in place and proved successful. The agency eliminated the Premium fare level in January, making MetroRapid service available for the price of a Local bus. In August, frequencies on MetroRapid routes were increased to 10 minutes during the day, Monday to Friday, and 15 minutes at most other times. Those changes have driven significant ridership increases on that service.

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Peter Partheymuller, 512-609-1646