With University of Texas students returning, many Capital Metro bus routes resume normal service

Capital Metro's 300 bus route, which travels along Oltorf Street, Pleasant Valley Road and Springdale Road, has increased its frequency to run every 10 minutes. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Capital Metro's 300 bus route, which travels along Oltorf Street, Pleasant Valley Road and Springdale Road, has increased its frequency to run every 10 minutes. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)

Capital Metro's 300 bus route, which travels along Oltorf Street, Pleasant Valley Road and Springdale Road, has increased its frequency to run every 10 minutes. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)

When the city of Austin and Travis County issued stay-at-home orders in March and schools canceled classes, ridership on Capital Metro's buses and trains nosedived as local residents stayed home as much as possible.

In February, ridership on the public transportation agency's vehicles hovered around 100,000 trips per day. Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the daily number of riders has settled to a consistent level of about 40,000 daily riders.

With ridership lower, Capital Metro cut some of its services accordingly. Now, with The University of Texas set to begin classes again Aug. 26 and Austin ISD students potentially returning in October, many of those services will be reinstated.

Roberto Gonzalez, Capital Metro's director of short-range planning, told the agency's board of directors that some bus routes will run more frequently with service resuming than they did before the pandemic in order to provide access to essential businesses while also ensuring riders can stay distanced on the bus.

Those routes providing more frequent service include:

  • Route 1—North Lamar/South Congress: every 20 minutes

  • Route 7—Duval/Dove Springs: every 10 minutes

  • Route 10—South First Street/Red River: every 12 minutes

  • Route 20—Manor Road/Riverside: every 12 minutes

  • Route 300—Springdale/Oltorf: every 10 minutes


Gonzalez also said Capital Metro's UT shuttle service is resuming along with the start of classes. The shuttles will run with more frequent service from the afternoon until 8 p.m. to adjust to class schedules that are more spaced out to ensure social distancing in classrooms, and the service will be suspended at Thanksgiving break. UT will have a hybrid model of in-person and online classes from August through November—students will not return to campus after leaving for Thanksgiving.


Not all service is returning to pre-pandemic levels. According to Gonzalez, commuter rail and commuter bus services that run between Austin and suburban areas will continue at the reduced service levels in place since March.
By Jack Flagler
Jack is the editor of Community Impact Newspaper's Central Austin and Southwest Austin editions. He began his career as a sports reporter in Massachusetts and North Carolina before moving to Austin in 2018. He grew up in Maine and graduated from Boston University, but prefers tacos al pastor to lobster rolls. You can get in touch at jflagler@communityimpact.com


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