Express bus service between Leander, Lakeline and Northwest Austin to downtown Austin will expand in January with more trips, longer hours and new routes.

The changes are part of Capital Metro’s January service changes that the agency’s board of directors approved Monday.

The service changes also include increasing the number of trips on the bus routes and expanding service hours. The changes were proposed after the agency gathered input from riders. It expects to see an increase in the number of average daily riders from 1,656 to almost 2,500.

Capital Metro Route 980 Capital Metro will launch a new Express Route 980 in January to provide service between a Park & Ride at Howard Lane and MoPac. The route would run on the new MoPac express toll lanes when those open likely in early 2017.[/caption]

Express buses operate on a limited schedule and offer service for commuters from Leander and Northwest Austin to key employment centers in downtown Austin, the Capitol Complex and The University of Texas. Currently five routes service these areas using US 183, MoPac and I-35, and some of the routes will be realigned to take advantage of the new MoPac express toll lanes when those open likely in early 2017.

“To me this is the best weapon that we have,” Capital Metro board President Wade Cooper said.

Highlights of route changes

Route 980: This is a new route launching in January to provide service from a new Park & Ride near Howard Lane and MoPac and serving the downtown Austin area. The agency leased parking from New Life Church, 3200 Century Park Blvd., Austin. The route will have 11 trips in the morning and 11 in the afternoon peak periods and use the new MoPac toll lanes.

Capital Metro Route 981 Capital Metro will launch a new Express bus route in January serving the Pavilion and Great Hills Park & Rides in Northwest Austin and downtown Austin.[/caption]

Route 981: This is another new route that will operate between the Pavilion Park & Ride near US 183 and Oak Knoll Drive and the Great Hills Park & Ride at 10500 Jollyville Road, Austin, to the downtown Austin area. The route will have three trips in the morning and three in the afternoon peak periods. The route will also use the new MoPac toll lanes.

Route 982: This route will not have any changes to its alignment but service hours will be expanded to 5:30 a.m.-10 p.m. The route will not operate on the MoPac toll lanes but will exit MoPac at 35th Street.

Route 983: The agency will eliminate Route 983 because of low ridership and duplication of service with other routes. To accommodate riders who used this route, the agency will add trips and service hours to routes 982 and 985, which also use the same route.

Route 985: The route alignment will be changed to use US 183 and the new MoPac toll lanes and offer service to the new Dell Medical School but will no longer offer service to Riverside Drive. The route will operate between 5 a.m. and 11 p.m. During certain trips in peak periods, the route will operate on MoPac up to SH 45 N to take advantage of the toll roads.

Route 987: This route will not see any alignment changes but it may also use the MoPac and SH 45 N toll roads instead of US 183 during certain peak period trips. Capital Metro will also increase the number of trips to 10 each in the morning and afternoon peak periods.

For more information on the service changes visit