Residents in Round Rock will have a new way to get to Downtown Austin without having to drive their own vehicles.
Round Rock resident Terry Emmett shares the same sentiment as many who live north of downtown, “We like downtown but we don't like to drive down there. Traffic, the traffic is so bad. What else? If it weren’t for that, it's only 22 minutes normally,” he said.
But starting in August, he along with all other Round Rock residents will have another option of getting to Austin. City Council voted unanimously Thursday night to team up with Cap Metro giving citizens some other ways to get around town and a new way to get to downtown Austin. “Instead of us going out and buying our own buses and starting our own transit it was a lot easier to contract basically with cap metro and have them provide it for us,” Round Rock Mayor Alan McGraw said.
The service will cost a little less than a million dollars a year, but there will be no new property taxes for residents. The money is coming from federal transit dollars as well as the city's general fund. The agreement is for five years but the first year will be a trial run and the city can cancel if things aren't working out. Council has been working on the plan for a couple years but with the Mopac Express Lanes opening up, Mayor McGraw said it became a reality much quicker. You can get on a bus here, a really nice coach and go and go to the Mopac Express Lanes right into Downtown Austin and you bypass a whole lot of people in the process that are still sitting in traffic,” he said.
The mayor said the express route to downtown will focus on the commuter running during the week in the morning and evening, and the $3.50 fare will be worth it for many to not have to deal with rush hour traffic. “It really is a bargain, you can sit and do work in the bus and get into Downtown Austin,” Mayor McGraw said.
This new service will be considered for action by the Capital Metro Board of Directors on Monday. The mayor said he is confident they will approve of the plan.