The Statesman calls it a revival, but CapMetro will tell you it never died. Either way, CapMetro is under the gun to get a good transit system built after the questionable roll-out of the MetroRail commuter line.
The upside to CapMetro’s BRT plan is that it provides a cost-effective service using high-capacity articulated buses and traffic signal priority. The downside is that they are not planning a dedicated corridor which is the number one way to achieve timely, reliable service. This means Austin’s BRT will flow with regular traffic and never achieve full-trip times comparable to driving a car. Mike Dahmus, formerly of Austin’s Urban Transportation Commission, shares these thoughts on CapMetro BRT.
Other things worth mentioning about this BRT are that the planned routes include at least two high-density mixed-use developments: The Domain and The Triangle. However, neither Austin’s most ambitious urban redevelopment, Mueller, nor Austin-Bergstrom International Airport are served by a BRT route.
Side note: I found this clever idea when searching the terms “Austin” “bus” and “transit.” It uses a destination-oriented bus system and covers the last mile using shared private taxis.
Houstonians should keep a close eye on Austin’s BRT. The nationwide push for conservative government spending may reduce or end Houston’s light rail expansion. If that should come to pass, a stellar BRT will be one of the few remaining ways to prevent gridlock as Houston’s population grows over the next three decades.