AUSTIN (KXAN) — Capital Metro buses could be full Wednesday as the public transportation provider announced Monday it will immediately move to allow full capacity on nearly all vehicles. The only exception is MetroAccess, the shared-ride service for people with disabilities who can’t use other transit services.

Cap Metro’s announcement came on the same day that Austin Public Health moved to Stage 2 COVID-19 restrictions, the best outlook for our area since the pandemic began in Central Texas more than 14 months ago.

Those who are fully vaccinated no longer have to wear masks unless expressly required by businesses. It mimics updated recommendations the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released last week.

“Austin-Travis County residents have made great strides in getting vaccinated and taking precautionary measures to reduce spread, and the data reflects that,” Escott said in a joint information session Tuesday with the Austin City Council and Travis County Commissioners.

Masks still required on Cap Metro buses, trains

Despite the relaxed guidance from the CDC and Austin Public Health, federal regulations still require that those using public transportation wear masks. It’s the same reason masks are still required at Austin Bergstrom International Airport.

Capital Metro cleaning
Capital Metro cleaning crew disinfects bus during COVID-19 pandemic (Courtesy: Capital Metro)

Cap Metro said in a news release it will also continue the following safety procedures:

  • Electrostatic cleaning. This advanced cleaning process sprays electrostatically charged mist throughout the vehicle to ensure surfaces are sanitized. 
  • Air purifiers. Installed on board our vehicles, these devices utilize UV light and safe levels of naturally occurring hydroperoxides to eliminate 99% of germs, microbes, viruses and bacteria in air and on surfaces to increase air quality and safety for ridership. 
  • Cashless and contact-free payment. CapMetro has introduced new ways to pay to allow customers to ride even more safely and easily. Learn more about buying fares using the CapMetro App, cash to mobile and with our brand new Tap cards. 
  • Masks for staff and customers. While we encourage you to always remember your mask when leaving the house, CapMetro has them available in case you forget. Face masks are required for all customers and staff on CapMetro buses and trains. 
  • Vinyl seat upgrades. In addition to our new cleaning technology, we have upgraded our seats from fabric covers to vinyl, making them easier to clean. 
  • Hand sanitizer. For your convenience, hand sanitizing stations are available on our vehicles to use as you enter and exit your ride.