Ben Wear

Transportation reporter

Ben Wear covers transportation for the Austin American-Statesman. An Austin native and UT graduate, Ben has worked for the Statesman since 1994 and had the transportation beat since 2003. He also teaches journalism as an adjunct professor and, in the fall, is a football official for everything from Pop Warner to high school games. He is the proud father of Molly, a sophomore at the University of Michigan and an aspiring actress and costume designer. 

Latest from Ben Wear

After 19-plus years, it’s all in a day’s work for Cap Metro bus driver
 It is 3:30 a.m. Wednesday in Round Rock, and once again bus driver Juan Rodriguez has awakened without the assistance of his alarm clock. He thinks of Elaine while getting ready for work. His late wife would arise with him in the pre-dawn to pack a sandwich, chips, a dessert and a drink in his canvas cooler for the long day ahead on Austin...

Posted: an hour ago

It is 3:30 a.m. Wednesday in Round Rock, and once again bus driver Juan Rodriguez has awakened without the assistance of his alarm clock. He thinks of Elaine while getting ready for work. His late wife would arise with him in the pre-dawn to pack a sandwich, chips, a dessert and a drink in his canvas cooler for the long day ahead on Austin...
Wear: Driving or scooting, it’s all about weighing the risk and reward
 I’ve been thinking about the concept of acceptance of risk — and scooters and automobiles. This week, my colleagues Kelsey Bradshaw and Katie Hall wrote a story about scooter safety in the wake of the city’s first known serious injury involving one of those vehicles since Bird and Lime brought them into the Austin...

Posted: 5 days ago

I’ve been thinking about the concept of acceptance of risk — and scooters and automobiles. This week, my colleagues Kelsey Bradshaw and Katie Hall wrote a story about scooter safety in the wake of the city’s first known serious injury involving one of those vehicles since Bird and Lime brought them into the Austin...
Capital Metro, city of Austin ready to team up for major transit push
 Capital Metro and city of Austin officials know that if the area is ever going to get high-dollar, big-impact transit, the leaders of those two governments — and perhaps a few others — will have to be singing from the same hymnal. The cost is simply too huge and the logistics too complex for Capital Metro to go it alone. And federal...

Posted: 10 days ago

Capital Metro and city of Austin officials know that if the area is ever going to get high-dollar, big-impact transit, the leaders of those two governments — and perhaps a few others — will have to be singing from the same hymnal. The cost is simply too huge and the logistics too complex for Capital Metro to go it alone. And federal...
Cap Metro, Austin City Council to jointly mull transit future
 If the Austin area is ever to have light rail or even a high-capacity system of buses, Capital Metro and city of Austin leaders are going to have to work together to make that happen. Capital Metro’s ability to raise money for such an expensive project is limited, while the city can raise taxes or fees in a variety of ways. And the...

Posted: 11 days ago

If the Austin area is ever to have light rail or even a high-capacity system of buses, Capital Metro and city of Austin leaders are going to have to work together to make that happen. Capital Metro’s ability to raise money for such an expensive project is limited, while the city can raise taxes or fees in a variety of ways. And the...
Wear: Cap Metro plugs into a new transit outlet: electric-powered buses
 Capital Metro buses will spend more than 2 million hours on the streets this year, traveling about 30 million miles. At 4 miles per gallon, about what the fleet averages, the buses will burn roughly 7.5 million gallons of diesel. Given that massive use of hydrocarbons, here and elsewhere, the dream for years in transit circles has been to...

Posted: 14 days ago

Capital Metro buses will spend more than 2 million hours on the streets this year, traveling about 30 million miles. At 4 miles per gallon, about what the fleet averages, the buses will burn roughly 7.5 million gallons of diesel. Given that massive use of hydrocarbons, here and elsewhere, the dream for years in transit circles has been to...
UPDATE: Most Capital Metro buses pulled after fire have been inspected and cleared, officials say
 4:20 p.m. update: All but three of the 28 Capital Metro buses that were pulled from the road after a fire Tuesday morning have been inspected and cleared, the company said in a statement. Cap Metro began inspecting the coach-style buses, which run commuter routes from downtown Austin to suburban areas, after one caught fire on the U...

Posted: 17 days ago

4:20 p.m. update: All but three of the 28 Capital Metro buses that were pulled from the road after a fire Tuesday morning have been inspected and cleared, the company said in a statement. Cap Metro began inspecting the coach-style buses, which run commuter routes from downtown Austin to suburban areas, after one caught fire on the U...
Wear: Scooters to keep rolling as city backs off locking requirement
 Well, that was close. But on Wednesday, if you want to go to the Scoot Inn, you will still be able to rent a scooter to get there. City of Austin transportation officials have spent the summer doing a bit of a dance, both with the dockless scooter companies and, for what it’s worth, with me. What inspired this bureaucratic soft-shoe...

Posted: 20 days ago

Well, that was close. But on Wednesday, if you want to go to the Scoot Inn, you will still be able to rent a scooter to get there. City of Austin transportation officials have spent the summer doing a bit of a dance, both with the dockless scooter companies and, for what it’s worth, with me. What inspired this bureaucratic soft-shoe...
Austin airport growth sparks traffic crunch in terminal’s arrival lanes
 Add to the list of Austin traffic quagmires an unlikely spot: the arrival level at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. When a lot of planes are landing during a short interval at the airport — typically late morning, late afternoon and after about 8 p.m. — the line of cars waiting to pick up arriving passengers on the lower...

Posted: 23 days ago

Add to the list of Austin traffic quagmires an unlikely spot: the arrival level at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. When a lot of planes are landing during a short interval at the airport — typically late morning, late afternoon and after about 8 p.m. — the line of cars waiting to pick up arriving passengers on the lower...
Wear: Cap Metro shuttles could hint at Austin’s transit future
 The future, or at least one possible squatty version of it, arrives on a downtown Austin street Monday. Capital Metro and a private company will begin two weeks of testing of driverless electric shuttles on a 1.1-mile route. The podlike vehicles, sort of a cross between a VW bug and a small bus, will run both directions on Third Street, between...

Posted: 26 days ago

The future, or at least one possible squatty version of it, arrives on a downtown Austin street Monday. Capital Metro and a private company will begin two weeks of testing of driverless electric shuttles on a 1.1-mile route. The podlike vehicles, sort of a cross between a VW bug and a small bus, will run both directions on Third Street, between...
Appellate court ends fight over Texas 45 Southwest, MoPac
 A several-year legal fight to stop construction of two highway projects in Southwest Austin came to an end Tuesday when a federal appellate court ruled against the challenge from environmental activists. Texas 45 Southwest and the “MoPac intersections” project, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled, received proper environmental...

8:01 PM Tuesday, Jul. 17, 2018

A several-year legal fight to stop construction of two highway projects in Southwest Austin came to an end Tuesday when a federal appellate court ruled against the challenge from environmental activists. Texas 45 Southwest and the “MoPac intersections” project, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled, received proper environmental...
TxDOT to receive $1.1 billion boost from surging oil business, economy
 Texas highways will get a $1.1 billion boost over the next year from the state’s vibrant economy, officials say, with much of that additional funding flowing from the booming oil and gas industry. The added money for the Texas Department of Transportation — generated by taxes dedicated to the agency’s highway fund as a result...

5:00 AM Sunday, Jul. 15, 2018

Texas highways will get a $1.1 billion boost over the next year from the state’s vibrant economy, officials say, with much of that additional funding flowing from the booming oil and gas industry. The added money for the Texas Department of Transportation — generated by taxes dedicated to the agency’s highway fund as a result...