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Capital Metro still on the schneid
Friday, November 17, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard
Ridership for Austin’s transit agency continued its downward trend in the most recent fiscal year. According to its own numbers, the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority provided just under 30 million trips on its buses and trains in Fiscal Year 2016-17, a 1.7 percent drop compared to FY 2015-16 (which saw a 3.5 percent decline in rides compared to FY 2014-15). The downward trend was driven largely by the agency’s University of Texas shuttle service. In addition to reductions due to rising costs of the shuttle service, the creation of the Speedway pedestrian mall forced several routes to permanently detour off of 21st Street over to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. That change shut down what were, as of 2014, the two busiest bus stops in Capital Metro’s service area. Shuttle ridership in FY 2016-17 declined nearly a quarter to 2.5 million rides. If that loss were taken out of the equation, however, the agency would have seen a 1.1 percent growth in ridership among its combined fixed-route, express, rail, paratransit and other services. A significant factor of that growth is the 25 percent increase in MetroRapid rides. The Nos. 801 and 803 served a total of 3.4 million rides. The hike was largely due to the deletion of premium fares as well as increased frequencies introduced in August. Despite the increases, though, ridership on the No. 801 corridor – which is Capital Metro’s busiest and is also served by the non-frequent Nos. 1 and 275 – is still significantly lower than it was before the MetroRapid service was introduced in 2014.
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