AUSTIN (KXAN) — Capital Metro will open its downtown station Monday, months ahead of schedule.
“That’s wonderful,” Steve Tyler, a downtown neighbor said. “I saw the sign and I was so excited. I couldn’t imagine how much more they have to do until spring.”
Initially slated to open in the spring of 2021, the three-track, two-platform station opened early and under budget. CapMetro said the money will be reinvested into its services.
MetroRail rider Laura Cooper said she looks forward to the change. She has been riding the train for about a year now, and unlike many, has had to continue to show up for work in-person. Because of this, she’s noticed the change on the train.
“I think a lot of people are working from home right now,” she said about the bare buses.
Tyler said he’s noticed the change as well.
“Since COVID it’s really dropped,” he said. “I could see these trains rolling in full over and over again from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m.”
The latest numbers from August show 12,000-weekday rail riders. Down nearly 30,000 from last August, and just before the pandemic, in February, CapMetro had a little over 60,0000 MetroRail riders.
“We know that Austin is a growing community and when we get past the current pandemic we’re going to be right back in the thick of it,” said Dottie Watkins, the transit agency’s Chief Customer Officer and Chief Operating Officer.
The new site will also feature a public plaza.
“If you’ve ever been downtown when there are events you know how crowded it can get and we know that that will happen again one day and we will be ready,” Watkins added.