(BASTROP) As drivers travel along Hwy. 71 towards Austin from the Bastrop area, the newly constructed Lee Dildy Complex, CARTS Headquarters, sits on a 14-acre site providing a state-of-the-art facility for this community transit service, one of 37 Rural Transit Districts in the State of Texas.
This campus, dedicated to the memory of long-time board chairman Lee Dildy, houses all of CARTS regional operations including administration, call center, operation, vehicle maintenance and even a rain-water collection center that facilitates bus washing and landscape care. Straddling the Bastrop/Travis County lines, this phase-one construction, begun in 2014, has made it possible for CARTS to move to the Cedar Creek location from their East Austin location.
“Our East Austin location became challenged with the ever-growing congestion of East Austin,” Dana Platt, CARTS Community Outreach Director, said. “It was difficult for our buses to navigate the increasing pedestrian and congested streets of East Austin safely. Cedar Creek is also more centrally located to our rural transportation services.”
Serving Central Texas since 1979, CARTS’ mission is to provide reliable, affordable transportation services to every customer.
CARTS buses operate from nine transit stations, located strategically throughout the CARTS District: Cedar Creek’s Lee Didly Operation Complex, Bastrop, Taylor, Smithville, Round Rock, Plaza Saltillo in Austin, San Marcos, Georgetown, and Marble Falls. Our other Stanberry Realtors office areas are served by a Country Bus that services Dripping Springs and rural areas adjacent to Cedar Park and Westlake.
“CARTS understands individual needs are different, community needs are different so we try to be flexible, and we are always willing to create tailored transportation solutions for communities in our district,” Platt said. “While we are unable to meet all of the mobility needs in our District, we pride ourselves on innovative solutions to meet those that we can, and to be an advocate for ways to address those unmet needs.”
With affordable routes, CARTS receives funding from FTA, TxDOT and some local funding.
Currently, CARTS’ most popular route is it's Interurban Coach 1517 Gold Route Express and the Interurban Coach 1510 Yellow Route with 13 trips a day from Austin/SanMarcos and access to Texas State University.
In Bastrop County, CARTS provides multiple services including Country Bus, Municipal Bus, Metro Connector, Interurban Coach and Interurban Express Service. Bastrop’s nine different stations make travel convenient to neighborhoods, businesses, and marketplaces downtown. The Interurban Coach Purple Route 1518 and the 1515 Express routes provide service into Austin and the Austin downtown business district.
“People should utilize public transportation in growing communities for multiple reasons including combating traffic, environmental sustainability, community, health, and safety,” Platt said. “In addition to its environmental benefits, transit serves several other purposes including affordable mobility, congestion relief, and economic development. We will always work to improve our product through the development of new and innovative technologies.”
Recently, CARTS has offered the HopThru app, allowing travelers to purchase passes on all CARTS services with a smart device. They offer a rechargeable pre-paid fare card and utilize all social media platforms to get their messages out to the public.
And CARTS has sights on future advancements to address travelers’ need. Within the City of Bastrop, a pilot for on-demand, uber-like app-based service; at Lee Dildy Complex, a park and ride facility for carpools, vanpools and the Interurban Express route operating on SH 71; in Elgin, a station that will serve as a hub and for the future station for the planned Metro Green Line rail service; at 363 Shady Lane between 5th and Caesar Chavez Austin, an Eastside Bus Plaza in 2020.
“Anyone can ride on CARTS. Hop on board. The services are not solely available to seniors or persons with disabilities,” Platt said.
For bus routes, fares and more information, visit the website at Ride CARTS.com, check out CARTS on social media, or call a friendly call center agent at 512-478-RIDE (7433).