Austin Local News
Don't Board the Bus Just Yet
You'll see a new fleet of buses on a new route--but don't board just yet--they're only doing field tests.
The new MetroRapid fleet will hit the streets in full force for a field test on July 15 in preparation for the launch of service on August 24. Operators will be testing detour scenarios, transit priority lanes, communications systems and transit signal technology. The field test will take place from 4:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and will cover the entire 15-mile length of Route 803. The route travels along North Burnet and South Lamar from The Domain to Westgate Mall via UT and downtown.
Although the vehicles will stop at all stations (12 shared downtown with Route 801), passengers will not be able to board. A main objective of the July 15 field test is to validate the performance of the new technology onboard the 40-foot vehicles. In addition to becoming more familiar with the route and locations of the stations, bus operators will have the opportunity to test out some of the new enhanced vehicle features, including a new communications system that lets the operators know if they are on schedule, and transit signal technology that keeps traffic lights green longer when vehicles are running behind schedule. Some of the destinations riders will be able to access when service begins include the UT Research Campus (JJ Pickle), The Domain, Central Market North, Seton Medical Center, the museum district, ACC Rio Grande, downtown Austin, the University of Texas main campus, the State Capitol, Barton Springs/Zach Scott Theater, Seaholm and Westgate Mall. Route 803 will complement the existing service on Route 3, providing more frequent service to the same area, and convenient connections to MetroRapid 801 service and other bus routes downtown. Features of the service include covered and well-lit high-tech stations offering real-time arrival information, and upgraded vehicles with enhanced interiors and free onboard Wi-Fi. MetroRapid Route 801 North Lamar/South Congress began service Jan. 26, 2014 and operates using 60-foot vehicles. For more information about MetroRapid service, its amenities, route maps and more, visit capmetro.org/metrorapid. https://mail.emmis.com/owa/capmetro.org/metrorapid.