CapMetro board hears complaints that new MetroRapid service worsens UT commute

Jeremy Thomas

A UT staff member argued that changes to existing bus routes associated with the introduction of MetroRapid have adversely affected Austin commuters at the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, known as CAMPO meeting Monday.

The CAMPO Transportation Policy Board schedules to meet every second Monday of the month to oversee the organization’s transportation programming. 

CapMetro bus routes changed Jan. 26 with the introduction of the MetroRapid 801 service. According to CapMetro, Route 801 replaced Route 101 North Lamar/South Congress. Routes 1L and 1M combined into Route 1 Metric/South Congress and will keep the former service stops for the new route. At the meeting, Marylin Harris, administrative associate at the Division of Statistics and Scientific Computation in the College of Natural Sciences, said she found problems with the CapMetro changes.

“[Commuters] have been impacted because of the change in the frequency of the local buses that make every stop, and the inconvenience of riding multiple buses where one bus used to take us everywhere we needed to go,” Harris said. “Those buses used to run every 11 to 12 minutes, making all local stops. Now you have a wait, a second wait or even a third wait for a bus, and your commute times are much longer.”

Harris said the 801 will not attract riders unless they can get all the way from the first point until the last point without transfers.

“There also should be an increase in the frequency of those local buses that make every stop, so that they can connect to the 801, so that we can make this transportation system work for the North Lamar/Guadalupe corridor,” Harris said.

Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell said Harris should talk to CapMetro directly about the issues she raised.

“I think there are representatives here from that organization that you may want to talk to,” Leffingwell said.

One of those representatives, John Langmore, a CapMetro board member and a CAMPO executive management representative, said CapMetro is looking to improve MetroRapid services.

“We’ve obviously — based on some of the comments that we’ve heard tonight, and we’ve heard it from others — we need to do some tweaking to how that service is provided,” Langmore said. “But I’m sure we will get that right and get our customers happy shortly.”