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CapMetro Buses May Soon Bypass Austin Traffic On State Highways
While thousands of people sit on the highway during rush hour in bumper to bumper traffic, city buses in Texas may be able to pass drivers on the shoulder if a new bill is passed.
State Representative Ruth McClendon of San Antonio filed a bill that would give city buses the right to drive on the shoulders of state highways and bypass traffic.
The bill states any time traffic is going 35 miles per hour or less, a bus would be able to use the shoulder as long as it stays below 35 miles per hour. Rep. McClendon believes it will help congestion, others say it’s too dangerous to even try.
“It's a good idea,” said Albert, who rides a Capital Metro bus from East Austin every day. “You can’t be late!”
“Pure stupidity,” rider Richard Vellejo countered. “The simple fact is it’s dangerous. Buses, kids, let's be for real. I don't know about you young lady, but I would rather take five seconds and get where I’m going and live than not get there at all.”
Buses would not be allowed to go faster than 15 miles above the highway traffic, with a max of 35 miles per hour.
“If they can move a little faster on the road, that’s great,” said Capital Metro Communications Manager Francine Pares. “There would be training that would be required of our bus operators. We would have to determine which roads were appropriate, which ones had the wide shoulders on them.”
Capital Metro, whose buses would be on the shoulders of those highways, said it’s behind the bill. Leaders there believe it will increase ridership and decrease traffic.
Governor Perry’s office told KEYE TV he vetoed a similar measure two years ago because he believed it was too dangerous.
Buses are already allowed to drive on the shoulders of major highways in Chicago and Minneapolis. In Texas, if the bill passes, only buses in Travis, El Paso, Tarrant and Bexar counties would be able to use the shoulders of state highways.
By Katherine Stolp