by Ann Fowler
AUSTIN – Two months after Capital Metro announced that it would decrease bus service to the Scenic Brook area to one morning and one evening bus, officials agreed to add a second bus for the morning and evening commute.
James Gamez, principal planner with the agency, said in an email, “While our ridership reports indicate 12 daily riders, we learned that the figure consists of several regular riders and even more occasional riders. Furthermore, neighborhood riders also expressed a need for trip flexibility, particularly in the afternoon.”
The buses that will continue to serve the Scenic Brook area are those that reach the Park & Ride facility at William Cannon Drive and U.S. Highway 290 West at 7:20 a.m. and 7:40 a.m. Afternoon buses that will go through the neighborhood leave UT at 5:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
The bus returning to the neighborhood at 4:20 p.m. will no longer go into the Scenic Brook neighborhood. Usually two to four passengers are dropped off at the Oak Hill Post Office, with another two to four going to the Scenic Brook area. It is unclear whether those from the Westcreek neighborhood would still be dropped off at the post office. Tom Thayer lives in the Scenic Brook area, but said, “I always wondered why they can’t stop at the post office stop even if they don’t go to the Windmill Run and Scenic Brook neighborhoods. They go right past that stop no matter where they are going after the Park & Ride.”
Thayer added, “Personally, they are keeping all the routes that I use. I have never ridden the 4:20 p.m. Flyer. I think it is good that they are keeping the later neighborhood trips so people won’t be stuck at the Park & Ride if they miss the one trip that had been proposed. I do appreciate that Cap Metro has worked with us about our concerns.”
Thayer said he knows a number of people who take the 7 a.m. bus into town, but take the 4:20 p.m. bus home. He said, “I have heard from a couple people that they may not take the bus with this change and from another person that he would still take the bus with the later afternoon trip.”
Capital Metro’s Erica Macioge told the Gazette, “Yes, some revisions were made to the proposal as a result of community feedback… Only one neighborhood trip is being eliminated, the 4:20 p.m. trip. The reasoning behind that trip is a combination of operational issues, time span and ridership.”
Capital Metro officials also revealed the proposed schedule of the new South Mopac Flyer, Route 111, and some of the proposed stops.
Inbound – Morning Outbound – Afternoon
Circle C 6:50 a.m. 7:30 a.m. 5:45 p.m. 6:25 p.m.
Dick Nichols 7:00 a.m. 7:40 a.m. 5:35 p.m. 6:15 p.m.
Arbor Trails 7:08 a.m. 7:48 a.m. 5:28 p.m. 6:08 p.m.
Downtown 7:23 p.m. 8:03 a.m. 5:12 p.m. 5:52 p.m.
UT 7:41 a.m. 8:21 a.m. 4:50 p.m. 5:30 p.m.
Proposed Route 111 bus stops include:
- Escarpment and South Bay
- Escarpment and La Crosse
- Slaughter and Escarpment
- Beckett and La Cresada
- Beckett and Davis
- Beckett and Dick Nichols Park
- Beckett and Kiva
- Convict Hill and Woodcreek
- Convict Hill and Flaming Oak
- Convict Hill and Brush Country
- Brush Country and One Oak
- Brush Country and William Cannon
On Capital Metro’s comment board, someone identified only as Josh said, “This is an excellent idea. Despite paying Cap Metro taxes, the Southwest region currently receives no transit service. This is a fast-growing region of the city, full of many people who work downtown or on campus who would much prefer to take the bus and read or work, rather than spend 45 minutes in their car in grinding traffic. My family would use the proposed Route 111 several times a week. I hope Cap Metro approves this route.”
Jeff Cohen commented, “I’m a Circle C resident. Currently we pay taxes for Cap Metro and yet have zero service. It’s about time we got something. Ideally I’d like to see some kind of rail service that would run from SW Austin to downtown and beyond—similar to the train service the other side of town has.”
“Brent” said, “If possible, please provide more bike space (not just two bikes[per bus]) as there are many cyclists in Circle C. If this bus ran more frequently (or tuned in to weekend tourism) and stopped at the La Crosse Avenue cul-de-sac, it would provide Austin (and tourists) access to the Veloway and Wildflower Center.”
Some comments expressed concern about getting home should they miss the last bus. Capital Metro does have a “Guaranteed Ride Home” program. According to the website, “Our Guaranteed Ride Home program offers reimbursement for MetroRail, MetroExpress and RideShare customers anywhere within our service area. The annual $5 membership fee entitles qualified customers reimbursement for up to four emergency taxi rides a year.”
Feedback can be given to Capital Metro online at Ideas.capmetro.org, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If the proposal is approved by the Capital Metro board of directors on March 25, the changes will take effect on June 9.
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