Capital Metro says Austin FC games are helping ridership rebound

Austin FC games have helped to boost Capital Metro ridership. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin FC games have helped to boost Capital Metro ridership. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)

Austin FC games have helped to boost Capital Metro ridership. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)

After a year of uncertainty, Capital Metro is finally starting to see some positive signs with slight upticks in ridership. While some of that growth stems from commuters returning to work, special events and weekend ridership have taken off in June.

“We have been maxing out every piece of equipment on special event days,” Capital Metro CEO Randy Clarke said during the Capital Metro board meeting on June 28.

Austin FC games in particular have been a boon to Capital Metro, as it offers service to the stadium through four bus routes: MetroRapid 803, Route 3, Route 383 and Route 392. The MetroRail Red Line also has a stop near the stadium at Kramer Station, with construction beginning on a new stop at McKalla Station next year.

The team’s first two games took place on weekends, meaning those using Capital Metro rode for free, an offering that will end on July 4.

For each of the first two Austin FC games, Capital Metro had over 5,000 riders. The U.S. Women’s soccer team match held on June 16, a Wednesday, also drew a large group with more than 3,000 riders.

Ridership for special events is highly important because commuters haven’t necessarily rushed back to work in-person. Some of Austin’s largest employers, such as Google and Facebook, are shifting to more flexible work schedules that won’t require workers to commute into the office.

Nonetheless, Capital Metro remains optimistic that ridership will return, even if certain types of rides, such as weekends and special events, come back faster than others.

“We are an unbelievably growing region, so we are confident that ridership holistically is going to come back,” Clarke said. “I don't think any of us would question that.”

The latest available data on the Capital Metro Dashboard shows that May saw 1.4 million riders compared to 1.2 million in May 2020. However, that number is still well below the May 2019 total of 2.6 million.

With the school year coming up, Capital Metro is also planning to resume some of its services in August. Those services, many of which had been paused or reduced due to the pandemic, include late night MetroRapids that will run until 3 a.m. Thursday through Saturday and limited trips for Route 980.

Editor's note: This post was updated to reflect the correct routes that go to the stadium.
By Benton Graham

Metro Reporter, Austin

Benton joined Community Impact Newspaper as a metro reporter covering transportation in Central Texas in June 2021. Benton's writing has appeared in Vox, The Austin Chronicle, Austonia and Reporting Texas. Originally from Minneapolis, Benton graduated from William & Mary and eventually moved to Austin in 2018.


Minnesota-based Rockler Woodworking and Hardware will open a location in La Frontera in late September. (Brooke Sjoberg/Community Impact Newspaper)
Rockler Woodworking and Hardware coming to Round Rock

Minnesota-based Rockler Woodworking and Hardware is coming to La Frontera in Round Rock in late September.

The proposed Wild Ridge master-planned neighborhood northeast of downtown Dripping Springs would include 960 homes on 40- to 60-foot-wide lots. (Courtesy City of Dripping Springs)
Master-planned neighborhood in Dripping Springs to bring 960 homes, new roads

The proposed development by Meritage Homes would feature amenities such as a disc golf course.

YogaSix will open in mid-September at 14028 N. US 183, Ste. 110, Austin. (Courtesy YogaSix)
YogaSix studio opening at Lakeline Market in Northwest Austin

The locally owned franchise offers six types of yoga classes such as beginner yoga and sculpt classes.

lunch bag
Leander ISD in-person students to receive free meals for 2021-22 school year

Free breakfast and lunch will be offered to all in-person students.

Q&A: Greg Smith, executive director of Fast Growth School Coalition

Greg Smith is the former superintendent of Clear Creek ISD and became executive director of Fast Growth School Coalition in December 2020. 

Williamson County Sheriff’s Office
Sheriff’s office requests pay increases during Williamson County budget process

The Williamson County Sheriff's Office said its officers are paid less than law enforcement officers in city departments countywide.

Williamson County courthouse
Williamson County proposes lower tax rate ahead of final budget vote Aug. 31

The tax rate will go to support a recommended $440.5 million total operating budget.

Photo of a doctor with a pregnant woman
Austin health experts warn delta variant could pose higher risk for pregnant women

Maternal medicine doctors across Central Texas have seen increasing numbers of pregnant women coming to the hospital with breathing issues and pregnancy complications as a result of COVID-19.

Wayback Burgers makes cooked-to-order burgers and hand-dipped milkshakes. (Courtesy Wayback Burgers)
6 eateries open or coming to Cedar Park, Leander; Trudy's North Star reopens in Northwest Austin and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area, including Tiff's Treats opening in Hutto.

Atiana's Boutique, a formal wear store for proms, dances, weddings and more, relocated July 10 within the 1890 Ranch shopping center from unit H400 to unit P130. (Taylor Girtman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Atiana's Boutique relocates within 1890 Ranch in Cedar Park

The formal wear store sells dresses for proms, dances, weddings and more.

student writing on paper
Texas Legislature allows parents to opt for students to repeat grade levels or courses

Senate Bill 1697 is effective for the 2021-22 school year.

Photo of medical professions in a hospital
Health officials warn ICU space is critically low as Travis County sees its 900th COVID-19 death

As the delta variant drives transmission rates up, local hospital systems warn that ICUs are strained.