This post was contributed by a reader who frequently rides Capital Metro.

Rapidly declining

The much-heralded “Metro Rapid” BRT service further screwed up the mobility of myself and other Austinites who are totally dependent upon public transit.

Ironically, I had initially supported the Metro Rapid launch.

Yes, it’s true. I attended the ground breaking ceremony at Chinatown. I was excited about a weekend 101 finally realized. Ever since the agency began charging people with disabilities fare money, I was looking for a fast way to get downtown on the weekends. I believed that this was the answer.

I should have been careful what I wished for.

Because consultant Nancy R Edmonson was a former Capital Metro employee, the then-board never questioned her insistence that fares had to be ‘simplified’ through creation of an entirely ‘new’ category?? They robotically adopted it without question. “Of course” the agency would make tons of EASY money—Nancy said so.


Desperate pleas from myself and other frequent riders who use the bus most often were ignored. Private car riders could not be forced onto public transit vehicles from their own.

Short changing their most reliable riders to chase imaginary constituents was a foolish game which Capital Metro and two of it’s then-board members (incidentally in elections) lost.

They were blissfully oblivious to how Metro Rapid hurts Austin area communities who are dependent upon public transportation.

In a twist of irony, the masses cannot afford the new premium affairs on Social Security—or even our salaries. And the subsequent reduced frequency of heavily-utilized local routes further make effective mobility timing difficult.

People most needing to use public transit for our mobility (such as people with disabilities, low-income and/or the elderly) have to now wait for hours on end for their bus route.

People choose the most affordable and physically accessible public transit option. We’re not sitting at a bus stop for 3 hours to ‘party’ or because we want to make “new friends” with whoever else is also stranded.


How urbanists talk about transit

Two of the more pre-eminent local urbanist bloggers, within the last two days, posted these (excerpts mine):


Excerpt refers originally to a project on the 3/803 “good transit line”.

Full post: “From 300 to 100000 […]” on “Austin On Your Feet”


Excerpt does not refer specifically to a transit line but the drawings inline clearly refer to a line much like the 1/801 as the thing you’ll get if you allow better and more connected development in your neighborhood.

Full post: “Why You Can’t Have Bus Service” on “Keep Austin Wonky”

If you haven’t studied this issue much, you might assume from those two posts that Capital Metro has a good track record of responding to density with service increases. That we can trust that if we produce additional transit-supportive development throughout the city, we can be sure that better service will follow.

The reality:

(Referenced post here: “Rapid Bus Has Degraded Bus Service Overall” from “M1EK’s Bake-Sale of Bile” )

See full slideshare here:

Please do Austin’s transit users a favor and ask the authors of those first two pieces why they continue to address issues of density and transit service without even acknowledging our lost locals (unquestionably WORSE service for most people on these two transit corridors than existed before the 801 and 803 were implemented). If you live in a neighborhood targeted for more density, and you are assured that it will result in more transit service (to make up for the supposedly inevitable wave of parked cars that the suburbanists predict instead), shouldn’t you point to past actions by the transit system operator that support your course of action? Or be required to explain past actions by the transit system operator that clearly don’t?

How urbanists talk about transit


The most heavily used transit route in Austin has had its peak frequency reduced from every 15 to every 30 minutes (and even after that change is still the most heavily used route in Austin). The previously 4th most heavily used route in Austin had its peak frequency reduced from every 20 minutes to every 30 minutes. The new frequent service network ignores these two critical transit routes and pretends that the incompatible ‘rapid’ routes that ruined them will suffice in their place.

(Even after their frequencies were cut, these routes still achieve ridership higher than most of those proposed for the ‘frequent service network’ – so the riders have not taken the hint!)

It’s time to demand change – demand the restoration of the service that ridership merits on these corridors. Demand that frequency of service be based on metrics rather than politics. Demand that Capital Metro admit the truth – that Rapid Bus is no acceptable substitute for local bus on these corridors.

Frequent service network proposal backup slide with arrows added by Mike Dahmus
Frequent service network proposal backup slide with arrows added by Mike Dahmus