New Braunfels staff has spent the last several months working on diversifying the city’s public transit options and preparing a draft of the new Transit Development Plan, which will be presented to City Council for action at the end of October.

How we got here

City Council approved a contract with Alliance Transportation Group in February to provide services and direction for the plan. Project management and initiation began in February, followed by public engagement and an existing conditions and analysis through the summer, according to a presentation Aug. 21 by Garry Ford, the city’s transportation and capital improvements director.

Ford broke down the different options available to the city for public transportation:
  • Fixed route: a bus, van or other vehicle service that has a predetermined route and schedule
  • Complementary Americans with Disabilities Act paratransit: required by the ADA and are complementary to fixed routes for those whose disabilities prevent them from using fixed-route options
  • Demand response: a non-fixed-route system that is curb to curb and requested ahead of time
  • Microtransit: a flexible, on-demand service that is app based and service zone based
  • Supporting options include commuter bus, vanpool, carpool, ride-sharing vouchers, and integration with other transit systems and modes
The city also has Alamo Area Council of Government’s Alamo Regional Transit service system, which is a system generally used in rural areas, according to the presentation.

The framework

Through an online survey, the city was able to gather feedback from nearly 1,000 residents on how they feel about the current transportation options and preferences for future transit possibilities.

When asked about why they didn’t use public transportation, respondents primarily said service is not provided where they live or need to go; they are unsure which public transit system they are eligible to use; and service is not available at the desired times.

Overall, 54% of respondents favored the fixed-route service system, while 24% and 22% favored microtransit and on-demand services, respectively.

City staff is also factoring in land use, population density and employment density regarding the different options.

What else?

The city is also eligible for state and federal transit funding. The city can directly receive the funds or designate a recipient. Recipients will be determined at a later date depending on the recommendations made to council and the different option timelines.