Capital Metro’s app-based Pickup service is expanding to four more sections of Austin over the next two weeks, after launching in Manor in June. It works like the pool function of other rideshare services. People can use the Pickup by Cap Metro app to request a ride from their home to anywhere within a certain zone.
The service launched in parts of East Austin, including sections of Govalle, on Tuesday. It launches in the area around St. David’s North Austin Medical Center and Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park on Wednesday.
“It does feel like a really good almost boutique service, and I think it’s going to be something that people are really going to love,” said Chad Ballentine, vice president of demand response and innovative mobility at Cap Metro. “It allows everyone to have that Uber or Lyft kind of experience but not at those prices, and it also really complements the transit system a lot better.”
Each ride in the eight-person van costs the same as a single ride on a Cap Metro bus: $1.25. Riders can pay by credit card or by pass. Cap Metro promises a pickup within 15 minutes and would have the ability to increase capacity, depending on demand.
Zones in Tarrytown and Northeast Austin will launch next week. Many of the areas that will be served by Pickup saw fixed-route bus service reduced or eliminated during the agency’s Cap Remap last year.
“A 40- to 60-foot bus does not make sense to drive in every neighborhood in this city,” Ballentine said. “We do a great job of doing high-capacity transit on the main corridors, but where we struggle and every agency across the country does is how do you fill in the gaps where you’re in between those major arteries, so this is a really good fit for that.”
Residents can get a ride on demand through the app or by calling 512-369-6200. The service runs from 7 a.m.- 7 p.m. weekdays. The East Austin and Northeast Austin zones will also have service on Saturdays from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Cap Metro’s proposed budget for next fiscal year includes funding for an expansion to additional areas, including Leander. More information on the service can be found here.
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