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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Capital MetroRail Rolls Out Service in Austin, Texas

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On March 22, Capital Metro marked a momentous milestone as the transit agency welcomed its first passengers on Capital MetroRail, the first modern passenger rail system in Central Texas.

Capital MetroRail's Red Line provides commuters another option to avoid heavily-congested highways with a smooth, reliable ride along 32-miles from Leander to Downtown Austin. Commuters can choose from one of nine trips in the morning (six southbound and three northbound trips) and 10 trips in the afternoon (six northbound and four southbound trips).

During this first week of service, March 22-26, MetroRail service is free. No tickets or passes are required to ride MetroRail or rail connector bus routes. Valid fares will be required beginning March 29.

MetroRail is part of the All Systems Go Long-Range Transit Plan that includes expanded local and express bus service, MetroRapid bus service, and new and improved park and ride lots. The central Texas community helped create the transit plan and approved a referendum in 2004 to allow Capital Metro to operate passenger rail.

On Saturday, March 27, Capital Metro will celebrate the start of passenger rail service with an emphasis on safety. Students who have been involved in Capital Metro's rail safety education efforts will take a MetroRail Safety Train demonstration ride from Leander to Downtown Station for a dedication. Student work and activities will be recognized.

Capital Metro, the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce and community officials along with Safety Train students commemorated the opening of MetroRail with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Downtown Station, 401 E. 4th Street.

"Austin is a world-class city, but traffic congestion threatens our quality of life: it has negative environmental, health and economic consequences. MetroRail is part of our regions solution to protect our quality of life. It's been at least five years in the making, and it's a great day in Austin to see MetroRail trains carrying passengers to work and school," said Mike Martinez, Austin Mayor Pro Tem and Capital Metro Board Chairman. "This is a historic day for Capital Metro that will forever change the face of transportation in our region. The addition of MetroRail brings us another step closer to providing a premier multi-modal transit system in which our community so deserves."

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