City council members approved an inter-local partnership between the city and university’s transportation systems during their March 19 meeting to continue bus services throughout the area.
Councilwoman Kim Porterfield, Place 1, said the six-month union between Capital Area Rural Transportation (CARTS) and the Texas State tram system will benefit the city’s most vulnerable residents, including the elderly, children, disabled and those who live in rural areas. Porterfield said she is excited about this next step toward becoming an urbanized area.
“This is very exciting for San Marcos,” Porterfield said. “We have an opportunity to further develop the transit system.”
Laurie Moyer, managing director of Transit and Solid Waste, said the six-month agreement to collaborate on routes, budgets and schedules started on March 1 and will end on Sept. 30.
Councilmembers also approved a $160,500 budget for the six months that includes the cost of planning, operating and maintaining the transportation system.
Moyer said the city and CARTS would also be involved in a comprehensive transit master plan and a finance implement study. She said Edna Johnson, assistant general manager of community services for CARTS, has been involved in the development process, talking to apartment developers to find the best solution for bus routes and stops.
Moyer said CARTS would be assisting Texas State’s route around campus through this agreement.
“As we step forward into the new urbanized area, (you’ll see) some new and exciting things,” Moyer said.
Porterfield asked Johnson how CARTS would help the university once the Bobcat Tram Interurban system ends in August.
Johnson thinks Texas State is possibly looking into providing transit services to Kyle, and Capital Metro buses would take on routes from Kyle to further north.
Porterfield said the comprehensive transit master plan would help identify where routes and stops should be located throughout San Marcos.
Johnson said several new routes outside of San Marcos would also be added to the city’s transportation system. She predicts routes in Martindale and Redwood would be functioning for CARTS users by mid-April.
“Martindale is a little hard route to serve,” Johnson said. “Redwood is closer, so it’s a little easier (for buses to go) in and out (between cities).”
Porterfield said the city should look into offering more services to students who do not live on the Bobcat Tram bus routes.
Moyer said the city brought in a consultant to help fine-tune the urbanization process and assist in ridership studies.
Johnson said she is working with the city to get bus stop signage available as soon as possible.
“We have a lot of work to do, and we have a large ridership,” Johnson said. “We get new riders every day.”
Johnson said CARTS will hold a public hearing and community input session at the end of April, when most of the urbanization process is underway. She said the meeting would also help explain any possible route and stop changes to CARTS.