[Updated] Supertrains come to Austin!*

I love my fair city, but if there is one thing that keeps Austin from being a truly world-class metropolis, it's the terrible transportation infrastructure. We're relentlessly developing a city in which car ownership is required to do just about anything. And if you do happen to have a car, you then have to deal with the fact that everyone else has to have a car, and that means they have to have wide roads and huge parking lots.

After reading that paragraph, you might expect me to be ecstatic that Austin is finally opening its "Red Line " commuter rail in just one week (only two years and one week late!). And while I am excited that we are taking our first steps into hard core public transporation infrastructure, there is one painful flaw in Cap Metro's rail effort: the idiotic schedule.

Rush hour only? No supertrains on weekends?

W. T. F.

Okay, they are calling it "commuter rail," not "super happy Jason fun time rail," and that's fair. But let's outline a few things I can't do using the Red Line.

  • I can't take the family to the Zilker kite festival on the train, so that I bypass the traditional parking clusterfrak.
  • I can't opt to take the train home from drinks downtown rather than climb in my car while dangerously buzzed.
  • I can't work late at the office, without having to find alternative transport home.

I know, I know, it costs money to run the supertrain. And Austinites don't want to pay for the train in the first place, because they don't see what it gets them personally (we all own cars, you know?).

But if there's one way to make sure that we never learn how awesome intracity rail can be, it's to make sure that it never ever seems like a good idea to try it out.

With this schedule, most of us our going to have only one experience with the Red Line: waiting--in our cars--for the train to get through a crossing.

UPDATE: From twitter, @ryanrumsey responds:
@originaljason Sounds like LA's PT planning. Did you know LA has a subway? No? Either do many in LA. Limited service & destinations.

@originaljason Oh, and LA's subway...it's the 'Red Line'.

* DISCLAIMER: Trains may not be very super.

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