Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is a mode of high-capacity transit that features buses traveling on dedicated lanes for at least 50 percent of their route and generally provides faster, more frequent service (10-minute peak service at a minimum) than traditional bus service. BRT also features special stations and typically has off-vehicle fare collection (so that riders can pay their fare with a mobile app or from a ticket vending machine at the station).
Corridor BRT, or BRT "light," is what we currently have in Austin. This system has dedicated lanes for a portion of its route and offers high-frequency service, though not as frequent as full BRT service.
Launched in 2014, MetroRapid provides an attractive alternative to driving a car. It operates in mixed traffic or in the transit-priority lanes through downtown on Guadalupe and Lavaca Streets between MLK and Cesar Chavez. Special technology allows MetroRapid vehicles to catch more green lights to stay on schedule. With GPS-enabled technology, riders can access real-time information for a specific route by using the CapMetro App’s Next Departure tool on their phone or on the digital signs at each MetroRapid station.
Capital Metro currently operates two MetroRapid lines connecting 77 stations along Austin’s major north-south thoroughfares. MetroRapid 801 runs along North Lamar and South Congress from Tech Ridge to Southpark Meadows. MetroRapid 803 runs along Burnet Road and South Lamar from The Domain to Westgate. MetroRapid corridors and Local buses showed a 16 percent increase in boardings from 2008 to 2016.
MetroRapid saves riders 30 percent in travel time over Local bus service at the same price. During peak periods on weekdays, MetroRapid runs every 12-15 minutes, and between 15-20 minutes at other times of the day. On weekends, the frequency is between 20-30 minutes. In 2015, MetroRapid provided 2.7 million rides, with 9,100 average weekday trips.
Coming in 2018 (already funded)
- Additional vehicles to increase frequency of service
- New stations at select locations along the existing MetroRapid 801 and 803 lines have been proposed to decrease the average distance between stations.
- Extend transit priority lanes on Guadalupe, from MLK to 29th.
- Other Connections 2025 recommendations, including potential new MetroRapid routes.