The Capital Area Rural Transportation System began bus services Jan. 30 at a new stop one block from the Georgetown Square at Ninth and Main streets.
The bus stop will offer 10 daily departures to Austin, Round Rock or Taylor, along with three different new routes with connections to Capital Metro and Austin Greyhound bus services and schedules, according to a city news release.
"We operate the station in Georgetown and Round Rock, and with that we've seen a need of those trying to get to the east and a need of how we can connect the businesses of Taylor, Round Rock and Georgetown to Tech Ridge where there's a major Capital Metro transfer point," Director of CARTS Field Operations Don Hill said.
Hill said the buses leaving from the Georgetown Station, located at 3620 S. Austin Ave., only traveled to Austin, Round Rock and Temple, but the new interurban route from Georgetown will loop from downtown Georgetown to Taylor and allow people to catch a connecting bus to downtown Austin.
"We're trying to get people to where they need to go and connect to where they need to go," he said.
Hill said the new stop was built as a late response to a survey conducted by an independent traffic consultant hired by CARTS. The planning process for the new routes, he said, was initially put on the shelf because of the lack of federal transportation funding during the economic downturn.
Georgetown Transportation Services Director Ed Polasek said the study was specifically conducted in 2008 to address the needs of a growing Georgetown. However, along with assessing city and population growth, Polasek said there is a 90 percent chance that Georgetown will be classified as a small urban area for the next fiscal year. As a small urban area, CARTS would not be able to provide service to the area.
However, Polasek said the service will not stop, only the source of the CARTS funding will change, and Georgetown is currently moving toward operating on a fixed-route system in which buses run on a prescribed schedule.
Route 1: CARTS Metro Connector
Depart time: 6:20 a.m.
Depart location: Georgetown stop (Ninth and Main streets)
Arrival time: 7:22 a.m.
Arrival location: Congress Avenue and 11th Street (State Capitol stop)
Return trip to Georgetown: 4:42 p.m.
Return location: State Capital stop
Return time: 5:50 p.m.
Route 2: Interurban Coach I-35 Yellow Route
The Interurban Coach I-35 Yellow Route will depart downtown Georgetown four times each day with stops at the Georgetown South Austin CARTS station, Round Rock Station, Capital Metro Tech Ridge Station, Austin Greyhound Station, Austin CARTS station, Kyle, and the San Marcos CARTS station.
Route 3: Taylor Interurban Red Route
The Taylor Interurban Red Route will depart downtown Georgetown five times each day. Morning departures on the Red Route will go first to Taylor, then to Hutto, Round Rock, and then the Georgetown CARTS station. In the afternoon, the Red Route will go first to the Georgetown CARTS station, then to Round Rock, Hutto and Taylor.
Departure times from the Georgetown bus station at Ninth and Main streets.
6:20 a.m.: Metro Connector to Austin
7:50 a.m.: Yellow Route to Round Rock, Tech Ridge, Austin, San Marcos
8:40 a.m.: Red Route to Taylor, Hutto, Round Rock
10:40 a.m.: Yellow Route to Round Rock, Tech Ridge, Austin, San Marcos
11:15 a.m.: Red Route to Taylor, Hutto, Round Rock
12:40 p.m.: Red Route to Round Rock, Hutto, Taylor
1:50 p.m.: Yellow Route to Round Rock, Tech Ridge, Austin, San Marcos
4:05 p.m.: Red Route to Round Rock, Hutto, Taylor
4:50 p.m.: Yellow Route to Round Rock, Tech Ridge, Austin, San Marcos
5:55 p.m.: Red Route to Round Rock, Hutto, Taylor
$2 for a one-way fare in one county or a Metro Connector route
$4 for one-way trips anywhere in the CARTS district.
$6 for an all-day pass
Multi-Ride books are available in $20 and $40 denominations
Seniors age 65 or older or persons with disabilities ride for half-fares. Riders should have exact change.
Connections to Capitol Metro buses can be made at the Tech Ridge Station or at several stops in Austin. For Capital Metro schedules, go to www.capmetro.org or call 474-1200.