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The Source for Public Transportation News and Analysis October 5, 2012
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Capital Metro Breaks Ground on MetroRapid Station
The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Capital Metro) in Austin, TX, recently broke ground for the Chinatown Station on its MetroRapid Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line.

Chinatown—located on Rapid Route 801, North Lamar/South Congress—is one of 76 stations planned along that route and Rapid Route 803, Burnet/South Lamar. Both routes, covering a combined 37.5 miles, are scheduled to enter service in late summer 2014.

Over the next 15 months, Capital Metro will construct 40 MetroRapid stations along Route 801, as well as four stops planned within the Tech Ridge Park-and-Ride and South Congress Transit Center. Station construction for Route 803 will begin next year.

The unique design of the stations will incorporate a canopy, benches, and digital signage with real-time vehicle location information.

MetroRapid consists of partially interconnected corridors, each running parallel to the two main highways serving central Austin: I-35 to the east and Loop-1 to the west. The purpose of the new high-capacity transit service is to provide a reliable alternative transit mode with competitive transit times.

The two routes will serve the densest and highest-ridership transit markets in the Austin region, connecting downtown companies, state offices, universities, regional retail centers, and major medical facilities to neighborhoods, workers, and students.

Capital Metro President/Chief Executive Officer Linda S. Watson calls the BRT system "a game changer for our region’s mobility, and it’s going to change the way people think about public transportation. Everything about MetroRapid is designed to connect people quickly to the best parts of Austin."

Watson added: "Everything about MetroRapid is designed to move people quickly, like technology on board that will keep traffic lights green when the vehicle is running behind schedule; multiple-door boarding and limited stops; and transit priority lanes through downtown so MetroRapid can bypass traffic. This rapid bus service will reduce travel time by limiting the number of stops and increasing the frequency of service. MetroRapid service will be every 10 minutes during rush hours. Routes will be easier to understand and, for the first time, riders can access real-time arrival information."

Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell said: "Mobility is one of the greatest challenges we face as Austin continues to grow and attract new business to the area. We have to keep people moving, and the city, Capital Metro, and other regional entities are working together for long-term solutions."

Funding for the $47.6 million MetroRapid project includes a grant from FTA’s Very Small Starts program.


A Chinese-style arch marks the site of the future Chinatown Station on Capital Metro’s MetroRapid BRT line.


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