Capital Metro increases capacity for Leander and Downtown Station MetroRail rides

MetroExpress service will also increase by 50 percent, as buses reroute to use MoPac's new express lanes


Early morning commuters headed to Austin from the Leander MetroRail station will now have more trains available to help alleviate congestion.

Capital Metro added four new trains to the MetroRail service Sunday in an effort to reduce overcrowded trains during peak times in the morning and afternoon. Two paired trips will now run six times a day, doubling MetroRail’s capacity for those trips.

The addition won’t increase the frequency of the train service, however, as additional improvement projects still need to be completed to the tracks, including building a permanent downtown station, said Cap Metro spokesperson Mariette Hummel.

New trip pairs from the Leander Station

6:51 a.m. and 6:56 a.m.

7:27 a.m. and 7:32 a.m.

8:03 a.m. and 8:08 a.m.

New trip pairs from the Downtown Station

4:17 p.m. and 4:22 p.m.

4:53 p.m. and 4:58 p.m.

5:29 p.m. and 5:34 p.m.

Craig York, a state employee for the Talking Book program, uses MetroRail on the last train from Leander every morning on his commute to work. He said he’s glad Cap Metro added the extra runs because of how packed the train gets on the last run.

“Other than that, the schedule changes don’t help me much,” he said. “I don’t head home until about 8 p.m. and usually take the 983 bus. I am a little hopeful about the increased Express service on a couple of routes, but it’s still a long commute.”

The additions are made possible by a $50 million grant from the Texas Transportation Commission made in 2014.

MetroExpress service increases

Cap Metro also increased MetroExpress bus service by 50 percent in the Leander, Lakeline and Austin areas this month by rerouting service to make use of MoPac’s new express lanes.

Two routes, new Route 981 Oak Knoll Express and Route 985 Leander/Lakeline Direct will use the express lanes to bypass traffic congestion and serve downtown Austin directly.

The 985 will also add trips and operate both ways throughout the day rather than just as a commuter route into downtown in the morning and back north again in the evening.

Route 987 Leander/Lakeline Express will now serve the 38th Street medical area first before heading south toward the UT campus, the Capitol and downtown. The 982 will also add more trips and operate bi-directionally throughout the day.

MetroRail commuters can take bus connections from MLK Station to the Capitol (Route 464) or the UT campus (the 465). At Kramer Station, the 466 takes passengers to The Domain and the Pickle Research Campus. All routes will adjust to the new MetroRail additions.