Some big changes are coming to Capital Metro. Last week, Cap Metro’s board of directors voted to approve Connections 2025, a plan that will dramatically boost the frequency of Austin’s bus system. On some routes, that means bus service every 15 minutes, seven days a week.
So what exactly is in Connections 2025?
On its Facebook page, Cap Metro has called Connections 2025 the, “most significant changes to the agency’s bus service in its history.”
Here’s what’s included:
- A more than doubling in the number of high frequency routes (with buses coming every 15 minutes or faster)
- More east/west routes
- Routes will be straighter and better connected to activity centers and denser parts of town for easy and more direct traveling
Here’s what’s been controversial
While the Connections 2025 plan has been lauded by some as a much need improvement to our transit system, the changes don’t come without consequence. In order to make bus routes more frequent, Cap Metro has decided to shift resources and eliminate 13 redundant or underutilized routes entirely. Most of these will be replaced in some way by a new service (but two will not). According to Cap Metro, 97.6 percent of current riders will still be within a five minute walk of public transit service.
Increasing ridership is a big goal for Cap Metro, which has seen costs to provide public transit services rise since 2000, while ridership has actually decreased. At a time when Austin’s traffic problems are on the rise and the city has expressed a desire to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increasing public transit ridership has quickly become a high priority. And as Cap Metro staff have explained, research shows increasing the frequency of bus routes can produce some of the largest boosts to ridership.
The changes will go into effect June 3rd. You can check out the entire list of route changes here>>