Capital Metro service changes realign, add routes

The Capital Metro board of directors approved its next round of service changes that will realign several routes and add a new route that will provide service to Circle C in Southwest Austin.

The transit agency adopts service changes three times a year to improve transit efficiency. Changes often include altering bus route frequency and eliminating stops because of low ridership. The changes the board approved March 25 are scheduled to go into effect June 9.

Principal planner James Gamez said staff revised its original proposals for the June service changes after receiving a great deal of community feedback regarding the proposals. One such revised proposal involved Route 383 that runs on Research Boulevard. Staff had proposed realigning the route to Braker Lane and MoPac, but it would have eliminated stops near the Gateway Shopping Center on Capital of Texas Hwy. and Stonelake Boulevard.

"The negative feedback that we heard was the [walking distance] to the new stops," he said.

The revised route keeps a stop located at that intersection near Gateway. The changes will also add about 20 new stops on Braker and Burnet Road.

In Southwest Austin, the agency will adjust the schedule for the Route 171 Oak Hill Flyer that operates weekdays during peak hours.

"There's going to be construction on [Hwy.] 290 this summer, and that will affect four key intersections, and one of them is right at where we have our Park & Ride," Gamez said. "That's going to result in downsizing that Park & Ride."

To aid in alleviating the diminishing number of parking spaces at the Park & Ride, Capital Metro will introduce the new Route 111 that will run parallel to MoPac down to the Circle C area because about one-third of riders who use Route 171 live in that area. The agency heard feedback from about 135 riders who would use the new route, Gamez said.

"A lot of them were in favor of new bus route because it's a little more convenient for them, a little closer," he said.

The downside is the availability of parking near the new route. Gamez said the agency is working with the City of Austin to use parking at Dick Nichols Park. Gamez said most riders would walk or bike to the new bus stops.

To balance the cost of the new route, Capital Metro plans to reduce the number of neighborhood trips on Route 171 to just two each in morning and afternoon peak hours. The revised schedule is available here.

Full details of the changes are available at www.capmetro.org/june2013.

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