The Capital Area Rural Transportation System (CARTS) was originally organized in 1978 under the Interlocal Cooperation Act of 1971 and was subsequently authorized by Texas Transportation Code Chapter 458 as a Rural Transit District (RTD). It is eligible for formula apportionment of state and federal funds for transit services for the non-urbanized areas of nine counties in central Texas, including Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Lee, Travis, and Williamson Counties.
The CARTS family of services includes general public demand-response paratransit (Country Bus) throughout the district and a scheduled regional intercity bus service (Interurban Coach) that connects Austin and 17 surrounding cities to Metro service centers and Amtrak and Greyhound facilities and serves nine CARTS stations in the region. All CARTS stations are Greyhound stations and CARTS operates its Eastside Bus Plaza as the sole Austin terminal for Greyhound and FlixBus. Interurban Express routes serve commuters on routes between Bastrop and Austin and between Austin and San Marcos. The newest member of the family is CARTS Now, an on-demand microtransit service that provides rides within 15 minutes of the passenger request through an app or via phone requests. It now operates in four cities (Bastrop, Lockhart, Taylor and Marble Falls) and will be expanded to other cities in the future.
CARTS collaborates in its region with CapMetro through a Regional Mobility Agreement and with the City of San Marcos through an Interlocal Agreement (to operate The Bus, its local fixed route) under which it provides services of regional importance that are integrated into a regionally connected system. CARTS and CapMetro also jointly operate an Office of Mobility Management to assist in planning, integrating services and filling gaps in service.
CARTS is governed by a board made up of a member from each of the nine county Commissioners Courts in its District.
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