Austin’s MetroRapid Transportation


Austin traffic: now there’s a topic that everyone in town loves to discuss! With road projects either proposed or underway and rail initiatives on the ballot, getting around our fair city is again a hot topic, but while planners plan and commuters gnash their teeth in gridlock that seems to get worse all the time, Capital Metro recently introduced an effective and economical solution to get from north to south with comfort, connectivity and relative convenience.

Introduced in early 2014 without much fanfare and then improved upon this fall with the addition of a second line, the new MetroRapid lines are high frequency buses with fewer stops than regular Cap Metro buses. The 801 line runs from Tech Ridge (near Howard Lane and I-35) along North Lamar before cutting over to Guadalupe north of UT. It continues through downtown before shifting to South Congress on its journey all the way to Southpark Meadows in far South Austin.

The 803 line’s northern starting point is at the Domain. It continues south along Burnet Road, shifting to North Lamar just north of 45th Street. It then follows the same path as the 801 along Guadalupe past UT and through downtown before returning to South Lamar at Lady Bird Lake. Continuing south on South Lamar, the route’s southernmost stop is behind the Westgate Shopping Center just south of Ben White Boulevard.

Equipped with special technology that allows the buses to access green lights and avoid traffic stops, as well as dedicated lanes through downtown, MetroRapid buses can deliver riders to within walking distance of many popular locations in Central Austin. Unlike Cap Metro’s regular local buses, the MetroRapid lines have fewer stops and operate on schedules based on ridership levels instead of specific times, which cuts down on travel duration. Buses run from 5 a.m.- 12 a.m. daily. During peak travel times (7-9 a.m. and 2-7 p.m.), both lines run approximately every 12-15 minutes.

With free Wi-Fi, commuters can spend less time white-knuckling rush hour traffic, while sailing along in new, modern buses. The buses are also equipped with bike racks, so you can stow your bike to use at your destination. Single one-way rides are $1.50 for regular riders (reduced fares are offered for seniors, people with disabilities, students and military personnel), or roughly the cost of half a gallon of gas. With frequent-use passes, the savings increase; you can ride all day for $3.00, or pay $13.50 for a seven-day pass. For daily commuters, a 31-day pass costs $49.50, the equivalent of one full tank of gas for a lot of vehicles. Try the MetroRapid today and experience a new way to save money and avoid road rage—not to mention the satisfaction you’ll feel knowing you’ve helped remove one more car from our congested roadways.

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