U.S. Department of Transportation Celebrates Opening of Major New Bus Rapid Transit Service in Austin, Texas
Contact: Angela Gates
AUSTIN, TEXAS – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today celebrated the grand opening of the first of two new MetroRapid bus rapid transit (BRT) lines, which connect several neighborhoods in Austin with major business, medical, education, and entertainment hubs along a 21-mile corridor. The opening ceremony of the Route 801 BRT line was attended by FTA Regional Administrator Robert Patrick, Mayor Lee Leffingwell, and state and local officials.
“Austin’s new BRT line will help reduce congestion and get residents where they need to go more efficiently throughout the city,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “The Obama Administration is committed to investing in more projects like this that provide ladders of opportunity for thousands of residents seeking fast, reliable access to work, school, and other destinations.”
The new MetroRapid BRT service opening today serves Route 801 along North Lamar Boulevard and South Congress Avenue. A second, intersecting BRT route to the West will serve Route 803 along Burnet Road and South Lamar Boulevard; it is scheduled to open later this year. Together, the routes provide 77 stations, with several shared stops through downtown Austin and near the University of Texas. The lines also connect with existing MetroRail and MetroBus stations. Both are operated by Capital Metro, which expects the new bus routes to shave roughly 10 percent to 20 percent off trip times compared to regular bus service.
“The MetroRapid BRT system will make an enormous difference in the commuting options available to Austin-area residents by bringing transit to the neighborhoods with the densest, highest ridership in Capital Metro’s entire service area,” said FTA Deputy Administrator Therese McMillan. “This is a great example of BRT done right, with new buses equipped with Wi-Fi, and more green lights along the way. It all adds up to a more efficient, comfortable ride for thousands of commuters, seniors, and students.”
FTA has committed $38 million to Capital Metro for both lines—about 80 percent of the total $47.6 million project—through its Capital Investment (Small Starts) Grant Program. The remainder was funded by state and local sources. Capital Metro expects to see 20,000 daily boardings along Route 801 within the first two years of operation. FTA Administrator Rogoff attended the grant signing ceremony in Austin with Mayor Leffingwell and Capital Metro officials in April 2012.