Austin's new MetroRapid buses being tested today

December 10, 2013 8:19:21 AM PST
Some new high-tech public buses have begun making the rounds in Austin but the vehicles are not yet hauling paying passengers.

Capital Metro on Tuesday began a day of field testing for 18 buses in its MetroRapid fleet. Spokeswoman Francine Pares says about 100 staff and volunteers were acting as passengers, including people using bicycles and in wheelchairs.

The new red-and-silver buses will operate on diesel fuel and also offer free Wi-Fi.

MetroRapid service begins Jan. 26 on a new route offering more frequent service to some of the most population destinations in Austin. A second route is set to start in August. Some of the stops are the Texas Capitol, downtown Austin, the University of Texas and the South Congress retail district.

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