Paratransit services will continue uninterrupted
The fixed-route bus system currently serving Georgetown residents will have its final rides Sept. 30, 2021. City Council during its July 27 meeting directed staff to negotiate a paratransit agreement with Capital Metro, without any provision for fixed-route service. City Council on Sept. 14 approved an interlocal agreement to continue paratransit services only.
“The City of Georgetown remains committed to providing exceptional services where they are needed,” Georgetown Mayor Josh Schroeder said. “The council has been very forward-thinking and proactive with regard to providing some form of public transit to meet our residents’ needs. City Council has given direction to discontinue the current fixed route system as of Oct. 1, 2021, but to continue providing our paratransit services. The current fixed-route system has not produced the expected ridership. As Georgetown continues to grow, so will the need for public transportation. I would expect this issue to be reassessed in the future.”
The City’s paratransit service, which is run by Capital Area Rural Transportation System, or CARTS, as a subcontractor for Capital Metro, currently serves 235 riders. The paratransit service is only available to people with disabilities. Eligibility and screening for paratransit services is provided, through a paper application, by the CARTS.
In the new agreement, the City will have up to two vehicles providing the current, curb-to-curb service from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Eligible riders will continue to pay $2 per trip and be required to make a reservation 24 hours in advance through the website or by calling 512-478-RIDE (7433).
The cost for continuing the paratransit service is estimated at $271,140. The City would pay $162,684, and the remaining cost would be covered through a match from the Federal Transit Administration. Because the City anticipates the number of qualified riders could increase with the loss of the fixed-route service, the City has committed to set aside an additional $81,342, with the FTA contributing $54,228, which will be used if needed in FY2022.
CARTS’ Interurban Coach bus service between Georgetown and Austin will continue. The bus picks up passengers from two stops in Georgetown, at Eighth and Forest streets and 3620 S. Austin Ave., twice a day Monday through Friday and has several stops on the way to and in Austin, including University Oaks, Tech Ridge Park & Ride, and Austin Greyhound.
History of GoGeo, public transit in Georgetown
The City and Capital Metro launched Georgetown’s fixed-route bus system Aug. 21, 2017. The partnership also included paratransit services in the City. The Georgetown Health Foundation also has provided funding for GoGeo.
GoGeo’s fixed-route service operates four routes with 46 stops that run from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. GoGeo also offered a Saturday service until March 2020, when it was canceled due to the pandemic. Annual average ridership for the fixed-route has ranged from 20,299 in Fiscal Year 2018 to 14,431 in Fiscal Year 2020. The City has spent $1.4 million for both fixed-route and paratransit GoGeo services since its inception. The City also paid $168,031 to install bus stops and other infrastructure. Annual costs for the service averaged $574,552 in local funding. The City’s current contract with Capital Metro expires at the end of September.
Council meeting and agreement materials
Sept. 14 Council Meeting: Coversheet
For more information about the GoGeo program, visit gogeo.georgetown.org.