ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — Two popular Capital Metro routes are expanding their bus service for riders in Round Rock.
The changes come after Cap Metro and city leaders reported increased ridership and heard more feedback about the demand for public transportation.
Route 50, which travels between Austin Community College’s Round Rock campus and Howard Station in Austin, has added two hours to its regularly scheduled service. People can now take the bus weekdays from 6:30 a.m. to 8:15 p.m.
To draw attention to the expansion, Mayor Craig Morgan and Randy Clarke, Cap Metro’s president and CEO, hopped a ride on a Route 50 bus Wednesday morning. They rode to the ACC campus from the Round Rock Transit Center, located at 300 W. Bagdad Avenue in downtown Round Rock.
“The workforce was always telling us, ‘When are you going to get public transportation? When are you going to get public transportation?'” Morgan said. “When we’re recruiting jobs, people ask us about public transportation. We quite frankly didn’t have it, so we entered into the partnership with Cap Metro [in 2017], and I think the demand is coming into fruition and showing that there is a demand for this service.”
“We’ve got to be honest: we can’t build our way out of 2 million more people moving to this region,” Clarke added, “so we’ve got to come up with choices, and we’ve got to think strategically about those. Cap Metro wants to be a partner with anyone out there that wants to help the community.”
Cap Metro also added a third morning and evening trip to and from Round Rock on the Route 980 express service. It travels from the Round Rock Transit Center to the New Life Park & Ride and then continues onto its Austin service, traveling on the MoPac managed lanes into downtown.
Riders can now catch a southbound trip to Austin at 5:44 a.m., 6:46 a.m. and 7:51 a.m. The trips back north happen now at 5:10 p.m., 6:40 p.m. and 7:25 p.m.
Altogether, Cap Metro offers four different routes throughout Round Rock. During the first complete fiscal year that ended in December 2018, Cap Metro reported that those buses provided 52,383 trips.
City leaders told KXAN that they expect services to possibly expand in the future, so they will keep revisiting the demand annually.