Cap Metro moves bus routes off Congress Avenue

Sam Limerick

As part of Capital Metro’s 10-year effort to improve the quality of public transit in Austin, Cap Metro moved most downtown bus routes from Congress Avenue to Guadalupe and Lavaca streets in June. 

According to Cap Metro, which planned the changes in February 2010 as part of a plan to improve its services, the change will allow for faster travel from bus-only lanes on both Guadalupe and Lavaca, which prioritize public transportation and allow buses to avoid traffic in the entirety of the downtown area.

“The change off Congress does offer a more direct trip between the UT area and downtown, as well as easier transfers,” Cap Metro spokeswoman Melissa Ayala said.

The change, which went into effect on June 3, coincided with parts of Congress being closed for downtown X Games events. All routes except for the MetroAirport Route 100 will adhere to the move.

Realigned buses will stop near Fourth, Eighth and 12th street. According to Cap Metro, 80 percent of its riders to the downtown area eventually transfer routes. Ayala said the goal of these efforts is to ultimately ease the process of transferring between local bus stops, MetroRapid stops and Express stops.

Additionally, the new route is home to upgraded stops, with new benches and shelter overhangs. In an email, Samantha Alexander, spokeswoman for the city’s transportation department, said the changes offer more options for downtown commuters.

“The Guadalupe Street/Lavaca Street transit corridor provides numerous opportunities for travelers, including dedicated bus lanes, motor vehicle lanes, bike lanes, bike share and wide sidewalks,” Alexander said.

Computer science sophomore Andy Hannaman said he thinks the changes will allow for quicker commutes through downtown.

“I think it’s great,” Hannaman said. “The bus lanes on Guadalupe and Lavaca will really help alleviate downtown traffic, especially at rush hour.”

Other students, including public health junior Amtul Asad, expressed concern over the changes because the new stops are further away from the East Sixth Street district than before.

“It’s a bit of a long walk from sixth street,” Asad said. “It’s a safety issue. It’s dark, and you don’t know who’s out there.”