Capital Metro’s last burnt orange and white bus was retired Tuesday, completing an upgrade of the buses that have serviced the UT campus since 1998.
New, blue Capital Metro buses will now serve the area, continuing CapMetro’s partnership with the University, according to a press release.
“We love hearing stories from the UT community, especially from students who rode the orange and white buses over the last 20 years,” said Dottie Watkins, CapMetro vice president of bus and paratransit services. “It’s time for a new and exciting change. The new high-tech buses are the next generation of public transportation and will offer upgraded vehicles that are reliable, comfortable and environmentally friendly.”
Several of the new buses have been used since the beginning of the summer and include cushioned seats, air conditioning upgrades, safety upgrades and upgrades for disabled passengers, according to the press release.
Economics freshman Tony Cabanas said the changes to the buses are welcome and something he believes will make riding the bus easier and safer.
“It’s a good thing to have newer buses, because it shows Capital Metro cares about us,” Cabanas said. “For drivers and passengers, it makes things safer, and that’s what’s the most important.”
The bus colors may be changing, but there will be no change to the partnership Capital Metro has with the University. The UT Shuttle provided 3.7 million rides to UT students last year, according to the press release, and CapMetro bus rides will still be free of charge to UT students.
The addition of new buses should also help eliminate confusion for passengers between UT Shuttle buses and normal local Capital Metro buses by creating a standardized look.
UT Shuttle routes will now be differentiated from normal routes by a UT logo displayed on the digital destination sign next to the bus number.
Business freshman Nicole Aragon thinks there still could be confusion with the bus changes because of students being unsure which buses are UT Shuttle buses and which are normal Capital Metro buses.
“For people that rely on buses it can be a big deal,” Aragon said. “It’s a lot less obvious now, and you can’t just tell from glancing at the bus anymore.”
The orange and white CapMetro buses have been a staple on the UT campus for 18 years, and Aragon said she’s disappointed the buses will be gone.
“I remember when I came to visit the University, and I thought it was awesome that the buses were orange and the street signs were orange,” Aragon said. “I think it’s a cool part of being on campus and living in Austin that everything is UT-themed, and I think when they switch it up it takes away from that.”