Pflugerville postpones vote on public transit program

The majority of council voiced concerns over success metrics applied to the pilot program, which was included as part of the city's fiscal year 2020-21 budget. (John Cox/Community Impact Newspaper)
The majority of council voiced concerns over success metrics applied to the pilot program, which was included as part of the city's fiscal year 2020-21 budget. (John Cox/Community Impact Newspaper)

The majority of council voiced concerns over success metrics applied to the pilot program, which was included as part of the city's fiscal year 2020-21 budget. (John Cox/Community Impact Newspaper)

Pflugerville City Council opted Sept. 22 to temporarily delay further discussion regarding a potential public transit program agreement with Capital Metro. An initial vote to approve the agreement failed in a 2-5 vote before further discussion was delayed.

The majority of council voiced concerns over success metrics applied to the pilot program, which was included as part of the city's fiscal year 2020-21 budget. Council Member Jeff Marsh cautioned that the pilot program could end up becoming a more permanent cost expenditure in the coming years, a sentiment Council Member Doug Weiss echoed.

Weiss said the city had requested Capital Metro return with specific success metrics, and stressed the need for lower average costs per trip and higher daily average ridership.

Chad Ballentine of Capital Metro said the organization has worked with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute to gauge various progress factors of the program, including cost effectiveness; customer ratings, the number of wheelchair and accessibility trips provided; and the response, wait and arrival times of trips.

Ballentine said bus ridership is down due to the coronavirus pandemic, but added the curb-to-curb public transit systems have rebounded at faster rates than regular bus services.


By the six-month benchmark, Ballentine said Capital Metro estimates an average of 36 daily passengers and, during peak time frames, up to 50 passengers daily. Approximately 3% of trips are projected to include wheelchair and Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility, Ballentine said.

At the six-month mark, Capital Metro metrics anticipate $39 per trip, Ballentine added. Pflugerville would foot just over $23 of the bill under that estimation, with the remainder overseen by federal funding.

Mayor Victor Gonzales said he knows there will be a a transit program available in Pflugerville at some point in the future, particularly given the city's growth. He outlined the need for resources that can complement senior resources and accommodations for residents lacking transportation access and those with disabilities.

“Whether it happens today or tomorrow, it will happen," Gonzales said.

Council Member Jim McDonald said the city has analyzed this pilot program for years, adding it can provide a valuable resource to the city's increasing population, residents with disabilities or those with difficulty accessing reliable transportation.

McDonald said some metrics will be fluid given the pandemic, but added he anticipates improvements in metric numbers and trends over the next 12 months.

“All in all, this is a really great program for our community," McDonald said. "I’m excited to see us move forward with this.”

Due to the failed motion, the proposed transit pilot program will return for further council consideration and deliberations at a future date.
By Kelsey Thompson
Kelsey Thompson is the reporter for Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto, where her work focuses on education, city government and community development. Originally from Upstate New York, Kelsey relocated to Austin after graduating from Syracuse University in May 2019.


MOST RECENT

The beer garden The Good Lot will be located at 2500 W. New Hope Drive, Cedar Park, near Veterans Memorial Park. (Courtesy Unsplash)
Beer garden The Good Lot coming soon to Cedar Park and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Austin area.

Photo of a vote sign
Here is where Travis County voters can cast their ballots on Election Day

Travis County voters can stop by one of 54 polling locations Nov. 3.

The early releases will begin Nov. 11 and includes 17 days through the rest of the school year. (Community Impact Newspaper file photo)
Leander ISD adds early-release days and more top Central Texas news from this week

Read the top stories from the past week in the Austin area.

The Central Texas Mobility Authority's board of directors paused a scheduled 5-cent increase per segment on the MoPac Express toll lanes. (Community Impact staff)
Tolls on Central Texas roads will increase Jan. 1; MoPac base rate will stay the same

The Central Texas Mobility Authority's board of directors paused a scheduled 5-cent increase per segment on the MoPac Express toll lanes.

The Austin School of Fashion Design, or ASFD, relocated from North Austin to Georgetown in October. (Courtesy The Austin School of Fashion Design)
Austin School of Fashion Design moves to Georgetown and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Austin area.

Here is how Williamson County has been impacted by the coronavirus. (Community Impact staff)
Twenty confirmed cases of coronavirus, 2 deaths added to Williamson County daily total Oct. 29

Stay up to date on how the novel coronavirus is impacting Williamson County.

Operation Front Porch, which is entering its fourth year of operations, allows residents to ship their packages directly to the Round Rock Police Department while they are traveling or out of town for the holiday season. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Round Rock to restart anti-theft holiday package protection program in November

Operation Front Porch, which is entering its fourth year of operations, allows residents to ship their packages directly to the Round Rock Police Department while they are traveling or out of town for the holiday season.

Local violinist Shawn LeSure
HAAM gets funding boost from Central Health to enroll musicians of color in health coverage

Days ahead of open enrollment beginning in the health care marketplace, Travis County’s health care district and the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians struck a deal to secure increased health care coverage for the city’s musicians of color.

Free meals will be available to in-person and virtual learning students, per a RRISD news release. Children age 18 or younger are also permitted to pick up free breakfasts and lunches at curbside meal distribution locations. (Community Impact staff)
All Round Rock ISD students eligible for free meals for duration of 2020-21 school year

Free meals will be available to in-person and virtual learning students, per a RRISD news release. Children age 18 or younger are also permitted to pick up free breakfasts and lunches at curbside meal distribution locations.

Less than a week ahead of the Nov. 3 Election Day, Cihan Varol, an associate professor with Sam Houston State University's Cyber Forensics Intelligence Center, shared insight on foreign election hacking and what it means for voters. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Q&A: Sam Houston State University cyber forensics intelligence expert talks foreign election hacking ahead of Nov. 3

"There is a very slim chance that the hackers can change vote count, but they can definitely influence people to believe that they did manipulate it," Cihan Varol said. "If election fraud is going to happen, it'll be because of disinformation."

Face coverings are not required for those entering polling places in Texas during the general election. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
UPDATED: U.S. appeals court pauses decision voiding face covering exemption at polling places

The court temporarily stayed a district judge's decision to void an exemption to Gov. Greg Abbott's statewide face covering order concerning polling places.