Funding for the new service came from a $38 million federal grant, which amounted to roughly 80 percent of the $47.6 million total project cost.
Photo credit: Capital Metro
Capital Metro’s newest MetroRapid BRT line, the 803 rolled out as planned onto some of Austin’s busiest streets on Aug. 24.
The second of two MetroRapid lines to launch this year offers riders frequent service, new vehicles with spacious interiors and free Wi-Fi, and upgraded stations with real-time arrival information. The new 15-mile route, which features 46 stations including 12 shared downtown with the MetroRapid 801 line, provides service to several college campuses including the University of Texas at Austin, the city’s museum district, two of the city’s most popular shopping destinations, downtown Austin and the State Capitol.
The two MetroRapid routes, which roughly form an X across the heart of Austin, serve approximately 25 percent of Capital Metro's service area, providing service along some of the area’s most heavily trafficked routes. MetroRapid’s two lines launched on time and under budget. Funding for the new service came from a $38 million federal grant, which amounted to roughly 80 percent of the $47.6 million total project cost.
On Aug. 25, over 125 Capital Metro staff, community leaders and transit supporters gathered at a park in downtown Austin to celebrate the launch of Route 803. The festive event was marked by appearances by FTA Regional Administrator Robert Patrick, Texas State Rep. Celia Israel, Capital Metro Board of Directors Chair and Austin City Council Member Mike Martinez, and Capital Metro Board of Directors Vice Chair and Austin City Council Member Chris Riley. Guests were treated to cool morning refreshments as the temperature soared to nearly 100 degrees, and many enjoyed the opportunity to tour a new MetroRapid Route 803 vehicle.
“Just like the 801, which took to the streets in late January, the 803 lets you explore all of the best things we have in Austin,” said Capital Metro President/CEO Linda S. Watson at Monday’s event. “After just seven months, we’re about to provide our one-millionth trip on MetroRapid, which indicates people are really enjoying the new ride."