I've been using the 1 pretty regularly between UT and the North Lamar TC. At night it's typically standing room only going as far as Koenig, even when other routes have only a handful of riders. A couple of days ago it was worse, with all seats occupied at least as far as the NLTC. Making more stops and shuffling riders around as others exited, we wasted enough time for the next bus to catch up with us. If you want specifics I blew off some steam on my blog, but the short and skinny is first of all that more service is obviously needed, and second I don't understand why you would let it get to this level before addressing the problem.
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Currently, the 10:12 departure of Route 466 from Kramer station is timed so Red Line passengers will watch the bus pull away as they are getting off the train and have a 32 minute wait for the next run. There is no reason for this. The bus sits for only 8 minutes prior to this run, but sits for 12 minutes at the end. Setting the 466 Kramer station departure time two minutes later at 10:14 would make this run work for ACC and Pickle Center riders and allow equal 10 minute breaks between runs. As it is, it is not only wasteful, it's incredibly frustrating. This has been brought to route managers' attention multiple times. Please fix this now. Currently, this bus departure usually leaves empty, stranding passengers. Fixing the time would improve ridership for this departure, and possibly the Red Line departure.
The Santa Monica Park and Burleson Heights neighborhoods lost all bus service with the demise of the #9 bus. Having the 328 loop down Mission Hill would not add much to the route, but would provide an important connection for the neighborhood.
Current service to the neighborhood requires a miniumum half mile walk across a park without accessible sidewalks.
ULR (ultra light rail) or ULV's typically weigh less than 10000 lbs, need only about 50kW (as opposed to 400-800 kW for light rail) to meet rolling, acceleration, grade, and aerodynamic energy needs. They cost in the vicinity of $5 million per mile (as opposed to $30 to $60 million or more per mile for light rail). ULV operating cost is also much lower. They don't have the 'last mile' problem (i.e. light rail can only go so close to your final destination), their ground footprint can be reduced by grade separation (so can light rail, but elevating 100000 lb vehicles 15 ft in the air takes much more expensive structures than it takes 10000 lbs), and the small size of vehicles allows off-line loading (see http://cybertran.com/ to understand how). What's more, during off-peak hours, when fewer people use these vehicles, they are being less wasteful carrying dead weight around, as the attached graph shows. Austin should definitely look at the available options as a multimode approach to tackle future mass transit problems. To see some examples, there is the People Mover (http://transportation.wvu.edu/prt), the Pod(http://www.ultraprt.com/), http://www.taxi2000.com/technology.html, or http://www.futrexinc.com/, or visit this site (http://faculty.washington.edu/jbs/itrans/) if you are curious about exploring more. Also here is an interesting slide presentation (http://www.megarail.com/pdf/current/URT-FLL4.pdf) that was made for the city of Fort Worth.
Somebody already mentioned monorail. The elevated guideways with concrete support (i.e. grade separation) is still a key component - but how about this on-demand, driverless, 20-person max. vehicle, (built on a modified GMC truck chassis) that has been in operation in Morgantown, WV since 1975. No rails are used, hence initial cost is much lower (downside is higher rolling friction with rubber tires). The whole system is computer-controlled thus cutting operator costs, and making it easy to be a 24x7 service. Since Austin does not deal with snow, the cost can be lower by eliminating track-heating system. Personally, I have used it and it is great - and often thought this could work in Austin . Although the top speed seems on the low side, good design could overcome that. Certainly worth brainstorming. It does serve the University of WV well, but will it scale up for a larger city like Austin? Or could it be part of a multi-pronged approach to deal with future of Austin mass transit. Here are some links to check this out.
For the detail-oriented here is a systems manual