The commuter trains, which have been running on a 32-mile line from Leander to downtown Austin since 2010, would cost $13 million to operate next year, while bringing in about $750,000 in fares. That would be a fare recovery rate of less than 6 percent. Rail ridership is expected to grow from about 700,000 boardings this year to 800,000, according to the budget.
The hours offered for regular bus service would decrease by 5.6 percent, mostly because of the elimination of the No. 101 and No. 3 bus routes (to be replaced by the No. 801 and No. 803 MetroRapid routes) and consolidation of the 1L and 1M routes into a single No. 1 route. That will have the effect of cutting service for the people who now use the 1M and 1L because No. 1 buses will come along half as often.
"They're not telling anyone that," bus rider Lee Hill said.
Express bus service would be reduced by 3.8 percent under the budget, MetroAccess hours would go down 2.3 percent, and UT shuttles would have 2.3 percent fewer hours. MetroRail hours would increase 33 percent, according to the proposed budget, but part of that increase is related to counting, for the first time, the hours that Capital Metro's rail contractor spends readying the trains for service each day.
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