Before You Head to the Bus Stop ...
Check out Cap Metro's new fares, routes, and policy changes
Mid-January is always a time of change at Capital Metro, when it does one of its twice-yearly schedule and route changes. Often these are just minor alterations, but this year the transit agency debuts some major adjustments, including policy changes. We've reported in recent weeks on the controversy surrounding some of these changes, but now it's time simply to report that they're here, beginning Sunday, Jan. 16:
For most Capital Metro customers, this means a slight rise in some fares, but MetroRail users will see a decrease. The changes are mainly an attempt to simplify the fare structure – rather than having a different rate for each mode of transport (bus, express bus, and rail), there will now be two main fare rates: "local" and "regional." The local single-ride rate is $1 and applies to bus (which was already a buck) and one-zone rail trips. The regional rate of $2.75 covers express bus and two-zone rail. That's a drop in rail fares, which were previously $2 for a single zone and $3 for two. Similarly, multiride rates are also going up slightly for bus and express bus, while going down for rail (see "New Bus Fares, 2011," below).
No More Free Rides
Seniors, Medicare card holders, people with disabilities, MetroAccess customers, students ages 6-18, and reserve and active military must now pay a "reduced" (half-price) fare, provided they have the proper ID (see www.capmetro.org for details). The Disability Fare Card will be replaced by the Reduced Fare ID card, available for $3 at the Capitol Metro Tranist Store.
Expanded MetroRail Service(begins Tuesday, Jan. 18)
Sorry, you still don't get that weekend service for which many have clamored (although the agency plans a four-week trial of Friday-evening service at some point this year, as well as a few days of weekend/special event service to be announced). Midday service will be introduced, however, along with expanded reverse commute options. Currently the Red Line only runs during rush hour, but hourly midday runs between Lakeline Station and Downtown begin Tuesday. Also, all the morning inbound and evening outbound rush-hour runs will cover the entire route between Leander and Downtown (a few currently go only between Howard and Downtown).
Snuff That Cigarette
Smoking was banned at all MetroRail stations back in September. Now that policy will be extended to the boarding areas of all Cap Metro transit centers and park-and-rides. Smoking is still allowed at bus stops, though Cap Metro hopes to eventually eliminate that as well.
For full details, including several bus route changes, go to www.capmetro.org/changes/jan2011-bus.asp.
New Bus Fares 2011
MetroAccess 10-ticket booklet - $15
MetroAccess monthly pass - $40
RideShare monthly pass - $60
Stored value card ($15 value) - $12