AUSTIN, Texas - With four additional trains now in the mix, CapMetro is trying to provide a little extra elbow room for those riding the Metro Rail -Red Line.
For the morning rush, starting at 6:51 until 8:08 the southbound departure schedule has been compressed. Instead of three trains out during that time period- there are now 6.
A similar northbound schedule back home is in place during the afternoon rush. Monday morning was the first work day run with the extra trains.
"We received really good feedback and we've mostly been looking at social media today and just getting any complaints about things not going well, and overall we are very happy what we've seen today, “said CapMetro spokesperson Mariette Hummel.
Adding more trains required a schedule adjustment which caught some regular riders by surprise. It happened to Todd Gerlach. For the past several years he's caught the 8:05 train northbound.
"I rolled up and the train was gone and I was, oh maybe it was late," said Gerlach.
It turns out that Todd's train now leaves about five minutes earlier. Despite that he likes the idea of having a shorter waiting period between trains during peak hours.
"They certainly need them. I've always kind of gone the opposite way to commute, but I always see the trains coming in downtown every morning and they're packed full, so I'm glad to see that they've added some service,” said Gerlach.
Riding the entire route between Leander and downtown still takes about 50 minutes. Run times may eventually be reduced - but that will require more double side track and the completion of the planned expansion of the downtown station. But all of that, is still at least 2 to 3 years away.
CapMetro is also promoting another service, recently launched for the new year. It’s somewhat of a hybrid rail line, but it doesn't involve using trains. It involves using buses.
A special express bus route is now rolling up and down the new MoPac toll lanes. For those on the bus, the expressway is almost like riding a rail line from Round Rock to downtown.
"We've heard feedback from people that they have been able to get from north Austin to downtown in 15 to 20 minutes. That’s really, really, great,” said Hummel.
This commuter bus, hot lane, idea may soon be expanded. Plans are still in the works for building express lanes on MoPac South of Lady Bird Lake. Doing that would provide a long awaited option for commuters who are caught in grid lock at the y and for those who live in south Austin.