Capital Metro’s newest rapid transit system launched Sunday, bringing upgrades like larger buses and faster routes to Austin.
MetroRapid will offer frequent service along Lamar, Guadalupe, Lavaca and South Congress, from Tech Ridge to Southpark Meadows. Every station provides real-time arrival information on electronic screens and a canopy to protect riders.
Service will run weekdays from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m., Saturdays from 6 a.m. to 12 a.m. and Sundays from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. MetroRapid will run every 10-12 minutes during peak hours, and 12-20 minutes during non-peak times. Weekend service will run every 20-30 minutes.
“Our incredible team has accomplished so much during the past four years to introduce this convenient, premium service to Austin,” said Capital Metro President/CEO Linda S. Watson. “There’s a lot of great buzz about MetroRapid, and we’re excited to bring this new transit experience to our rapidly growing community.”
The 40 Red and Silver 60-foot long accordion style buses look similar to the MetroRail and can hold 101 people each. Riders will find features like free WiFi on-board buses. Drivers will have the capability to make a green light longer when MetroRapid is running behind schedule
“I love this bus, the technology is so great and the smoothness and the quietness and it’s got everything you would want to be comfortable to go to work.” driver James Frank said.
Capital Metro said the construction along the downtown section of the route on Guadalupe and Lacava streets will not delay MetroRapid buses’ start date.
The MetroRapid buses will reroute around construction zones instead. Samantha Park with the Austin Transportation Department said there will still be lane closures on Guadalupe and Lavaca at 8th Street for another month, but Capital Metro regularly works with the city to reroute around construction zones.
It is unclear whether other locations along the MetroRapid route will close lanes due to construction. Capital Metro plans to introduce another MetroRapid route next summer.
Capital Metro also introduced a new tiered fare structure Sunday. Riders can purchase a pass from three categories: Local, Premium, and Commuter. Click on the graphic below for more information on the fares.