Capital Metro to reduce route frequency amid staffing shortage beginning Sept. 19

Capital Metro service reductions beginning Sept. 19 will impact 20 routes with some routes running less frequently and the E-Bus routes suspended. (Courtesy Capital Metro)
Capital Metro service reductions beginning Sept. 19 will impact 20 routes with some routes running less frequently and the E-Bus routes suspended. (Courtesy Capital Metro)

Capital Metro service reductions beginning Sept. 19 will impact 20 routes with some routes running less frequently and the E-Bus routes suspended. (Courtesy Capital Metro)

Facing a staff shortage and coronavirus-related disruptions, Capital Metro will temporarily reduce service on all 15 of its high-frequency network routes in addition to MetroRapid routes starting Sept. 19.

The public transit agency lists 20 routes in total that will begin to run less frequently, including the late-night E-Bus routes being suspended.

Chief Operating Officer Dottie Watkins discussed the service challenges during its Aug. 30 board meeting.

“We are currently today 100 bus operators short of what it would take to operate the service levels that we committed for the current service period, which started Aug. 19,” Watkins said. “On top of that is somewhere in the range of about 20 to 25 people every day additionally absent for COVID-related reasons, whether it is someone who they themselves have COVID or they are quarantined due to an exposure to COVID and that is also adding an extra layer of impact to our ability to provide good service.”

According to the Capital Metro website, the staffing shortage dates back a few years and has been exacerbated by the pandemic. The public transit agency is actively recruiting operators and technicians, offering up to $3,500 hiring bonuses for qualified candidates.


In an effort to provide more consistent service, Capital Metro will move some of its 10- to 12-minute frequency routes to 15 minutes as well as pushing some of its other routes to 20- or 30-minute frequencies.

The 10 to 12-minute frequency routes were originally 15-minute, but had increased frequency to allow for greater distance between riders as a COVID-19 safety precaution. The buses have since installed new air filtration systems.

Seven of the bus routes will see impacted service every day of the week. Among those buses, the largest changes include shifting the 18-Martin Luther King, 217-Montopolis Feeder and 335-35th/38th routes from 15-minute to 30-minute frequency.

An additional 10 routes, which include the suspended E-Bus routes, will only be impacted on weekends.

The 7-Duval/Dove Springs, 10-South 1st/Red River and 20-Manor Rd/Riverside routes will only see impacts on weekdays with frequency moving from 10-12 minutes to 15 minutes.

A full list of the service changes can be found on the Capital Metro website.
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.



MOST RECENT

A lawsuit filed against city officials over the rollout of Austin's land development code rewrite has held up the revision for over a year. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin's land development code lawsuit returns to court in November

The land code rewrite was put on hold last spring due to the pandemic and a Travis County judge's initial ruling against Austin in a lawsuit the city has appealed.

As proposed Senate redistricting went under scrutiny, the state’s first congressional map, featuring two additional congressional districts, was released. (Community Impact Staff)
Senate hearings, congressional map released: Read the latest on redistricting in Texas

As proposed Senate redistricting went under scrutiny, the state’s first congressional map, featuring two additional congressional districts, was released.

Photo of pizzas
New Domino's location to open on Airport Boulevard, and more businesses coming to North Austin

Businesses coming soon to North Austin include a ghost kitchen space for Brooklyn Breakfast Shop and a new senior living community.

The purchase represents the largest electric vehicles procurement in the nation's history, according to Capital Metro. (Courtesy Capital Metro)
Capital Metro moves forward with $255 million investment in electric buses

The investment will add 197 electric buses to the transit agency’s current fleet of 12 electric buses.

The budgets will take effect in October when the Capital Metro 2021-22 fiscal year begins. (Benton Graham/Community Impact Newspaper)
Capital Metro board approves $650M in funding for upcoming fiscal year

The funding includes operating expenses, longer-term capital projects and a contribution to the organization overseeing Project Connect.

The price of child care tuition in some areas is comparable to tuition at a four-year university, according to the Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area. (Courtesy Primrose Schools)
Central Texas child care providers struggling even as economy recovers

The pandemic is exacerbating an already difficult staffing shortage issue in the area's child care industry.

A new development will be coming to east Kyle. (courtesy Texas Department of Transportation)
CI NATION ROUNDUP: East Kyle to see new development; Katy Boardwalk District announces updates, and more top stories

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Sept. 27.

Screenshot of Jeff Travillion speaking at a meeting
Travis County prepares for redistricting process

County commissioners will approve maps adjusting precincts to match 2020 census numbers by the end of November.

Austin, Travis County and Austin ISD officials gathered Sept. 24 to discuss local resilience planning. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin, Travis County, AISD look to build collaboration on community disaster hubs

The governments and school district are looking to grow a network of facilities that can provide resources to residents amid weather emergencies.