The capital’s metro vehicles return to their full capacity with one exception


As Austin moves to Stage 2 of its COVID-19 risk guidelines, Capital Metro plans to operate nearly all vehicles at full capacity starting Wednesday. The only exception concerns MetroAccess buses, an adapted transportation service for people with disabilities.

Face masks will continue to be required on public transportation, as required by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The agency is encouraged to see the community take this step and looks forward to continuing to welcome clients to all services,” Cap Metro said in a statement.

Attendance at Cap Metro has declined sharply during the pandemic as more people work from home or seek to avoid confined spaces with strangers. In March, the most recent month for which federal data is available, Cap Metro reported more than 1.3 million bus trips. It was the highest number since October, but it was well below the 2.4 million trips in March 2019.

The agency hopes its sanitation protocols will help people feel more comfortable using public transportation.

Cap Metro said it cleans vehicles every night with an electrostatically charged disinfectant mist. The electrostatic charge helps the disinfectant to adhere to surfaces.

The agency also expects to complete a $ 1.6 million project to install active air purification systems on all 425 of its buses by the end of the month. The systems use UV light and a fine mist of disinfectant (aerosolized hydrogen peroxide) to disinfect the air drawn through the bus’s HVAC system.

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