AUSTIN, Texas - If you've actually taken Cap Metro's MetroRail service during the morning and afternoon rush hour, you'll know it's crowded. Clearly a very popular service.
"Really we've come to a point where we are simply at capacity. Any of our daily riders especially if you're at Leander, Lakeline or Howard knows how full they get during those peak times," said Sam Sargent with Cap Metro.
Sargent said they've seen a huge increase in ridership on Metrorail since they started the red line service back in 2010.
He said thanks to a TXDOT grant 4 more rail cars will be coming online in January bringing the total fleet to about 10. So thanks to that, a little bit of crowd relief will be coming starting in January.
"Right now we run every 34 minutes during our am and pm rush hours. We're going to be adding one additional every 34 minute trip in the morning and the afternoon," Sargent said.
And Cap Metro says thanks to a federal grant, during 2018 they'll be adding more double tracking to the rail line.
"At the moment the red line trains really are only able to go every 34 minutes during the peak simply because they don't have enough places to pass one another," Sargent said.
Sargent said most likely around January of 2019, the trains will start running about every 17 minutes during rush hour times.
The goal,moving more people.
Speaking of moving more people and getting them to the rail, starting this week Cap Metro is expanding a pilot service called "Pickup." They started back in June in the Mueller area.
"What we've done is we've expanded it to 6 days a week and now we're adding the Martin Luther King rail station," said Chad Ballentine with Cap Metro.
The app-based service is free during the pilot stage. Kind of like a traditional ride-hailing service, you use the app to request a "pickup." It will be there in about 15 minutes. Ballentine said the people that used it asked to be connected to rail.
"This can be the service that wiggles through the neighborhoods and picks people up and brings them to those fixed routes that really get people to and from where they need to go quickly," he said.