Capital Metro on Sunday will put in place a massive overhaul of the area’s bus system that’s meant to reverse a four-year decline in ridership.
The new bus route map will emphasize frequent service on more key routes, but the changes also will mean some riders will have to walk farther to reach bus stops. Here are five things to know about what the transit agency is calling “Cap Remap,” which comes after a two-year run-up of design, debate and efforts to alert affected customers.
1. The system will have 14 “frequent” routes, with buses showing up at least every 15 minutes, seven days a week. Cap Metro currently has six such routes.
2. Fifteen routes will be eliminated, though 13 will offer coverage on other routes that fall within a half-mile for most existing customers. Many of those alternative routes will run more frequently. About 600 existing regular riders will be farther than a half-mile from service, the agency estimates.
3. A total of 52 routes will change, either a little or a lot, and the agency weeks ago posted an array of signs at bus stops to alert riders to what is about to happen with their particular routes. In the past week, the agency also has dispatched “ambassadors” — volunteers and staff members — to stops to answer last-minute questions about the changes.
4. Fares systemwide — including on MetroRail, which is not seeing changes — will be free June 3-9 as riders adjust to the shifts. That will cost Cap Metro about $310,000 in lost revenue, the agency estimates.
5. The system will offer about 120,000 extra hours of bus service per year, an increase of about 10 percent. The agency predicts that ridership, which fell about 1.7 percent this past fiscal year and has declined 12.1 percent since 2013, will rise 3 percent in the first year of “Cap Remap.”