Pflugerville public transportation program not happening just yet

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PFLUGERVILLE, Texas (KXAN) — A pilot program aiming to get Pflugerville residents around town is on hold for the time being. During a Tuesday Pflugerville City Council meeting, five of seven members voted to temporarily delay further discussion regarding a potential transit program, which the city has allocated nearly $400,000 […]

PFLUGERVILLE, Texas (KXAN) — A pilot program aiming to get Pflugerville residents around town is on hold for the time being.

During a Tuesday Pflugerville City Council meeting, five of seven members voted to temporarily delay further discussion regarding a potential transit program, which the city has allocated nearly $400,000 to.

The pilot program would be implemented with Capitol Metro and would feature curb-to-curb pickup and include destinations like H-E-B, Tech Ridge Park & Ride and Cove Senior Apartments, among others.

The pilot program would continue for one year. After that, Pflugerville and CapMetro will use the data to gauge the viability of continued transit investment in the city.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Pflugerville Council Member Doug Weiss said he’d like CapMetro to explain what the metric for success will be, saying, “What do ridership levels have to look like for us to say, ‘This is not successful, and the pilot has proven the demand does not exist?

The city and CapMetro have agreed that the pilot cover a 3.3 square mile service area, which is generally located along the Pecan Street corridor.

“We have major companies like Amazon coming to the region. We have literally down the road Tesla coming to the region. We are right in the middle of a complete transformation of 130 as we know it. With that comes a need for transportation for all citizens,” said Council Member Rudy Metayer.

The estimated budget for the pilot would cost a total of $500,392. The local contribution rate required to fund these operations is 60%.

The remaining 40% federal share is available through the use of 5307 funds through the Federal Transit Authority (FTA), which are attributed to Pflugerville’s proportional share of the urbanized area population. 

“We need to make sure our cost per trip is not more expensive than putting someone in an Uber or Taxi,” said Weiss.

“No two zones are the same, so logically neither are the metrics for success. It’s never a one-size-fits-all solution,” said Chad Ballentine, a CapMetro representative.

Ballentine says Capital Metro predicts program success based on several factors, including what they think ridership will look like in six months. That has been a challenge during a pandemic.

“It’s a little hiccup in time, but it’s not going to be long before people get back into these services,” said Ballentine.

Two Capitol Metro buses would be used for the program and an option for a third, should it be needed for peak hour demands within the 3.3 square mile service area provided in the agreement.  

Council Members Weiss and Metayer don’t have a timeline for revisiting the decision, but the new budget starts Oct. 1. Both say they want to be confident the demand and cost per-ride are worth the investment before approving the pilot.

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