Those utilizing Capital Metro trains could see their wait times cut in half when two new trains come online.
According to Capital Metro representatives, two new train cars entered Austin last Thursday. The cars had a long journey, coming from Switzerland to Galveston. The trek from Galveston to Austin resulted in a two-day drive and the train components were lifted onto the tracks last Thursday.
Those commuting from Leander and Cedar Park to Austin who ride the rail line are expected to benefit when the new cars are added to the fleet.
“It is hard to get people to utilize public transportation when they’re afraid they might not make it on a train on time,” Debbie Womack, Cedar Park resident, said. “People don’t want to take that risk.”
Another two trains are expected to arrive in Austin in April. The trains will endure 1,000 hours of testing and an inspection from the Federal Railroad Administration. This process is expected to last about six months.
Capital Metro representatives said that when the fleet receives the four-train addition, riders might wait about 15 minutes for a train instead of 30. This means 800 riders might utilize their services per hour, rather than 400.
“I use the Metro pretty infrequently, but will be more likely to ride it when the extra cars are added,” Michelle Smith, Leander resident, said. “I can say that for South by Southwest, it was impossible to get on. I was afraid if I used it to get there that I might not get a ride back.”
The Texas Department of Transportation and the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery has given Capital Metro grants to help pay for this expansion. $28 million of these grants went toward purchasing the four new trains. Expansion projects have also includes creating additional parking lot spaces and adding signals and double track sidings so trains can pass each other.
“The best way to decrease traffic going to Austin is really getting our public transportation efforts on par with other large cities,” Womack said.