Everyone remembers their first time taking public transportation. You weren’t sure if you needed exact change, so you brought it anyway. Your palms were slightly sweaty--you know this because you kept losing your grip on the metal bars. Maybe you were nervous you wouldn’t hit the “STOP” button in time when you needed to get off? But then once you found an empty seat and put your headphones on, you were able to experience your city in a new way. You passed by the 8:30 a.m. line forming at Franklin’s, the historic house you had always admired and a tiny local museum you didn’t know existed. You made a mental note to visit one day. Then, you heard that the bus was approaching your stop and you hit the “STOP” button with confidence.

For many Austin transplants and longtime Central Texas residents alike, CapMetro is the first form of public transit they’ve ever taken. Sometimes that’s because they’re taking the train to Q2 Stadium to attend an Austin FC game or they’re taking the bus to places like Zilker Park and the UT campus where parking is limited. CapMetro wants to continue to shape everyone’s experience in Austin and the surrounding regions for generations to come. This includes uplifting the businesses that create reasons for our residents to explore the city on transit. And our latest Project Connect expansions aim to bring that “first ride on transit” feeling to new generations of Austinites of all ages.

What’s happening with Project Connect in 2023?

In 2020, Austin voters made it known that they need more transit options by voting “YES” for Project Connect. They signaled support for a transformational system expansion that's set to revamp mobility across the region. This initiative isn't just about building a better transportation system; it's also about creating over 200,000 jobs and building a thriving and interconnected Austin for everyone.

Certain areas of this city that are popular now used to be purely residential or warehouse districts before transit-oriented developments came into play. Remember what Crestview Station looked like just 10 years ago? Or the area around Plaza Saltillo Station? Maybe you don’t because you didn’t have a purpose to explore those neighborhoods. But now, you frequent these areas for groceries, shops, music venues, salons and other businesses that make Austin a great place to live. Wouldn’t you want to predict the next East-Sixth-esque hot spot?

Keeping updated with Project Connect’s progress can help your business stay ahead of the curve. And we know you’re busy, so we won’t bury the lead. Here are the latest updates that can impact you.

Delivering Customers to You

Riding public transit isn’t as exciting when you don’t have a fun destination. Project Connect developments intentionally improve access to local businesses. With new stations and transit options, potential customers without cars have fewer barriers to finding your business. This convenience factor can mean more foot traffic and increased sales.

Are you looking to expand to a new location in the next 2 years? Plan to lease space in East or South Austin near one of our new CapMetro Rapid line stations or the McKalla Rail Station. Imagine the Project Connect system as a treasure map leading potential customers to undiscovered gems. With better transit options, people will explore parts of Austin they might not have ventured into before. If your business is located in one of these emerging areas, you could experience a surge in new customers eager to explore and support local businesses.

Our much-anticipated McKalla Rail Station, set to open before the 2024 Austin FC season, is a stone’s throw from the Q2 Stadium. An accessible station means the 20,000 fans who ride the train to every game are happier, spend less time commuting and have more time to visit nearby breweries or restaurants before or after the game.

How Can You Strategize?

With new transit lines, stations and infrastructure on the horizon, there will also be construction jobs and development opportunities. Local businesses can get in on the action by bidding to work with us on these projects. If you're in construction, supply chain or any related industry, you’ll have ample chance to play a part in influencing the growth of Austin.

Your business can hop on the advertising train too (literally). Think about it: eye-catching bus wraps, external ads and placards aboard the new Rapid vehicles can put your name in front of thousands of commuters and tourists eager to enjoy a more efficient ride to work or connect to the train to cheer on Austin FC.

Project Connect is rapidly developing and you don’t want to be the last to find out what’s new. Subscribe to CapMetro Alerts to receive the latest information.

Related Categories: Chamber, Membership, Transportation, Regional Mobility