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A Guide to Getting Around SXSW 2016

Ilana Panich-Linsman for KUTX

If there are two things that can guarantee Austin traffic, they're South by Southwest and a presidential visit. Somehow, to the chagrin of any Austinite trying to get anywhere this year, the gods of gridlock have conspired to make both of those happen simultaneously this year.

With that in mind, here's a rundown of all your transportation alternatives to get to and from the airport, head downtown and get home safely. 

MetroRapid: The $1.75-per-ride bus service will operate until 2:30 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays during SXSW and until midnight on Sunday, March 13. Other days will operate according to the regular schedule, M-Th until 12:30 a.m. and Sundays until 10:30 p.m.

MetroRail: On Friday, the last train will depart the Downtown Station at 12:44 a.m. This Saturday, the last train will depart downtown at 2:30 a.m. Sunday service will last from 10:20 a.m., when the first train leaves the Kramer Station, until 12:03 a.m., when the last train heads northbound from downtown. Monday and Tuesday, March 14-15, the service operates until 12:44 a.m. On Wednesday, March 16, through Saturday, March 19, services goes until 2:30 a.m. And on Sunday, March 20, there’s no MetroRail service at all. All rides are $3.50.

Shuttle Service: New this year is a CapMetro shuttle service that runs between the Leander and Lakelin MetroRail stations and is free to ride. For more on the times and routes, CapMetro provides more info here.

Night Owl: From March 11 through March 19, Night Owl buses run every 15-20 minutes (not on Sunday though) from midnight until 3:49 a.m. The buses pick up on 6th St. between Congress Ave. and Colorado St., and rides are $1.25.

E-Buses: March 10-12 and 17-19, E-buses will run every 15-30 minutes, from 9 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. Also $1.25.

MetroAirport Route 100: offers $1.75 bus rides to and from the airport every half hour from 5:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. on weekdays, 6 a.m. to 11 pm. Saturdays, and 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays. During SXSW the shuttle will make four additional stops on its route; for more info check CapMetro’s website.

Reroutes: During SXSW Routes 4, 17, 21, 22, and 122 will be detoured to 5 th and 8 th Streets. Check CapMetro’s Special Events page here for more detour info, a trip planner, and everything attendees need to know about getting around during the most wonderful time of the year.

If you plan on using buses or MetroRail, you should download the CapMetro app for updated route information.

SXCycles:  The SXSW-branded program from the local bike-sharing program Austin B-cycle will feature stations stations around downtown, and if you use the code "SXcycles2016" by the end of Thursday, March 10, you can get a day pass for 50 percent off.

Here's a map of street closures from the City of Austin:

Given the street closures, the scarcity of parking outside of SXSW and the impending congestion in the downtown area, it's not likely you'll easily find a parking spot downtown. But, just in case, the app ParkMe has a real-time map that shows lot and metered parking spots in the downtown area. You can find the map online, on the ParkMe app or in the interactive map below.

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