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Cap Metro launches outreach campaign ahead of its June 3 redesign

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 by Syeda Hasan

In just over two weeks, more than half of all the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s bus routes will be altered – and some will be eliminated altogether – when the transit agency rolls out its Cap Remap plan. Ahead of that launch, Capital Metro is launching a major outreach effort to get the word out about the plan, which has been met by opposition from some riders.

The transit agency says the redesign will make the system more efficient and gridlike, favoring routes along major corridors instead of residential neighborhoods.

The most significant changes are expected to come to routes in Northeast and Southeast Austin. But Capital Metro also says its revamp will add more than 100 new bus stops, 82 of which are expected to be up and running by June 3.

At a briefing today, CEO Randy Clarke said the agency plans on having as many as 900 Capital Metro representatives along routes to explain changes to riders before and after Cap Remap takes effect “to ensure those customers are understanding how the routes are changing.”

Once the changes go into effect, Capital Metro is advising riders to double-check routes before traveling because, even though certain bus stops aren’t going away, many existing bus routes will be routed to a new path.

“Our operations team is going to be roaming around the city, looking at stops where service may not be available anymore, making sure people know where they have to go, making sure they can get to where they need to go,” said Jackie Nirenberg, Capital Metro’s community involvement manager.

Opponents have argued the redesign’s focus on corridors instead of residential routes will mean longer walks to bus stops for some riders. But Todd Hemingson, Capital Metro’s vice president of strategic planning and development, said the agency gathered extensive public input to help inform the service changes, factoring in changes in population growth, development patterns and affordability concerns across the region.

“Communities and populations are moving outside of Capital Metro’s service area,” Hemingson said, “or from the urban core out to the edges because of that affordability challenge.”

This story was produced as part of the Austin Monitor’s reporting partnership with KUT. Photo by Pavel Mezihorak for KUT News.

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