Kyle council approves transit agreement with local company
On Feb. 2, Kyle City Council directed staff to find a viable alternative to the transit services being provided within the city by the Capital Area Rural Transportation System. On March 1, staff presented council with a proposal that would see a local company provide similar services.
Buda & Kyle Taxi, a locally owned transportation service company, will provide rides to Kyle residents, who must book their trips 24 hours in advance, after council unanimously approved the proposal. The company will then send a vehicle to the residents’ home to pick them up and transport them to any location in Kyle or Southpark Meadows in Austin or downtown San Marcos. The service will operate in the city on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Rides within Kyle will cost $3 round trip, $5 to San Marcos and $6 to Southpark Meadows.
In addition to the fares collected by the company, the city of Kyle will pay Buda & Kyle Taxi $25 per hour. Kyle spokesperson Jerry Hendrix said the city took $50,000 it had budgeted for the CARTS program and reallocated it for the new service.
“[City Council] took all the money out of the budget for this year’s CARTS program, and—because there still seems to be an issue with people still needing rides—they asked us to put together a program that would kind of test the demand,” Hendrix said.
Kyle Mayor Todd Webster previously said the relatively low ridership on the CARTS buses made it hard to justify the $75,000 the city had been spending on the program. According to the city of Kyle there were 46 unique riders on the CARTS bus in fiscal year 2014-15. Of those 46 riders, six rode the bus 25 or more times.
Hendrix said if another franchise taxi company comes into Kyle and is licensed to operate, the city may have to revisit its agreement with Buda & Kyle Taxi.
“If we demonstrate there is ample demand to warrant continuing a program on a permanent basis and there is another company in town, we may do a [request for proposals], but we’ll just have to see how that works out,” Hendrix said.
Buda & Kyle Taxi owner Ivan Castellon said he is hiring new positions to help the company deal with the expected increase in business. He said he expects his company to be able to begin offering its services by mid-March.