CapMetro changes set to alter students’ commute

Allyson Waller

Capital Metro’s Connections 2025 transit plan will affect the daily commute of some UT students, starting June 2018.

Over half of CapMetro’s 82 routes are subject to change under the plan, according to their website. CapMetro spokesperson Mariette Hummel said the new plan will provide more frequent service for commuters. UT shuttles will not have changes in frequency, but routes near campus, such as those of the 653, 21, 22 and 110 buses, will be replaced by other existing routes.

“(Frequency) is what the public overwhelmingly asked for during the development of the transit plan,” Hummel said in an email.

Proposed increases in frequency for routes 10, 18 and 20 should benefit students traveling to and from campus, Hummel said. There will be a total of 17 eliminated routes if the transit plan is implemented, according to CapMetro’s website.

Graduate student Kyle Shen frequently takes bus 653, which will be eliminated and replaced by frequent route 10. Shen said he agrees route 10 is designated to get passengers to their destination faster, but he is worried about the increased density of both UT students and Austin residents the route will have to accommodate. Route 653’s average ridership was 1,537 during the weekday, and route 10’s was 4,273, according to CapMetro data.

“I’m a grad student, so if I take (the 653 route) late at night, I prefer it to be more University-centered rather than just folks from just all over Austin,” Shen said.

Environmental science sophomore Jonah Shaukat took bus 19 last year to commute to school from the Ridgelea area. He now lives closer to campus, but still frequents the area when he wants to visit home. However, Bus 19’s route will be altered, which will cause the stop near his home to be eliminated, according to the transit plan. New stops will be available farther away near Red River and Park, and Red River and 44th.

“I mean (my home) is not exactly close to campus,” Shaukat said. “You can’t walk from there unless you want to take an hour, but the bus stop that I took was probably less than a five minute walk away from my house, which was extremely convenient.”

Despite these substantial changes in routes and distribution of commuters, graduate student Hannah Hopkins said she thinks the changing transit system is still a good thing.

“I did my undergrad at a university that kind of had a similar bus system, and it was great,” Hopkins said. “If it just means I have to leave a little bit earlier because the bus will be crowded, then it’s totally fine.”