Sometimes it’s about the journey. In this case, it’s all about the destination. Here are some tips to get you on your way. In this Section GETTING AROUND AUSTIN CHARGING STATION LOCATIONS AIRPORT INFORMATION MAP OF AUSTIN-AREA TOLL ROADS You’re going to find urban edginess, small-town friendships, and big-city conveniences. MOVING IS A BIG STEP, AND WE’RE here to help you make a smooth transition. The Greater Austin Area is a sweet place to call home. Austin proper offers an appealing balance of sophistication and chill, outdoor living and career opportunities, and when it comes to music, you can find pretty much whatever makes you happy. Austin’s surrounding communities are close enough to the city to provide an easy commute but still afford residents a quieter lifestyle. Let’s start with how to navigate the city and its surrounding area while you’re learning your way around. GETTING AROUND AUSTIN BY CAR When you’re traveling north and south in Austin, the primary options are Interstate 35 and Loop 1, also known as “MoPac.” Both are heavily trafficked during peak travel times, so if it makes sense for your commute, get to know some alternate routes, such as Lamar Boulevard or Burnet Road. When traveling north and south in Central Texas, State Highway 130 is a quick toll route with minimal traffic that connects to I-35 in Georgetown and Buda, with many convenient exits along the way. Get a TXTag account set up online at www.txtag. org. You’ll save 10 percent and you won’t have to stop to pay. Loop 360, also called Capital of Texas Highway, is one of the more scenic routes to take when you move about town. Compared to MoPac, you’ll encounter more stoplights but typically less traffic during top travel times. State Highway 45 and State Highway 183A, also toll roads, can shave considerable time from a daily commute. Along with U.S. Highway 290, State Highway 71 and U.S. 183 are the primary east-west thoroughfares besides city streets. Please note, 290 and I-35 are the same road through much of Austin’s center. PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION If you haven’t discovered the benefits of public transportation, perhaps it deserves a closer look. Aside from the relaxing notion of not using your car, there’s also the luxury of time to read, listen to music, or catch up on your social media. You may find it suits your lifestyle beautifully. Capital Metro, Austin’s public transportation authority, offers 14 Park & Ride facilities and transfer centers with combined parking for more than 3,000 cars. MetroBus provides a clean, inexpensive and reliable way to get around Austin. You’ll find easy online tools to help customize your itinerary, too. MetroBus partners with Dadnab™, a free text messaging service. Send your current location and desired destination to 512-981-6221, and you’ll receive a reply text with the bus you should take, including any transfers. You can also text your bus stop’s ID number to find out when the next bus will come. Capital MetroRail, Austin’s urban commuter rail, travels a 32-mile line from Leander to Downtown Austin, Monday through Saturday. Many of the stations are also serviced by MetroBus, so it’s easy to coordinate your trip from start to finish. Nine stations are located along the line, and all trains stop at each station. If you’d like to drive your car and leave it at the station, use the Park & Ride lots at the Leander, Lakeline, and Howard stations. Capital Metro’s entire fleet of buses and railcars accommodate bicycles. Concerned about a change in plans? The Guaranteed Ride Home program offers reim-bursement for MetroRail, MetroExpress, and RideShare customers anywhere within the service area. An annual $5 membership fee entitles qualified customers reimbursement for up to four emergency taxi rides per year. Capital Metro also provides vanpool and carpool transportation options, as well as a demand-response, shared-ride service for people whose disabilities prevent them from riding regular bus and rail service. BY BICYCLE Austin’s designation as a silver-level Bicycle Friendly Community reflects the city’s commitment to providing safe, efficient, and accessible bicycle facilities for all residents and visitors. You’ll see bicycles being used throughout the city, for both transportation and recreation alike. The Austin Yellow Bike Project is an all-volunteer initiative to put bicycles on the streets of Austin and Central Texas by operating a community bike shop, teaching bike mechanics, and acting as a local bike advocacy group. In addition, the City of Austin and local non-profit Austin B-cycle brought bike sharing to the Austin public in December 2013. This initiative follows a successful city pilot car share program that continues today with Car2Go and Zipcar. ON FOOT Plan it right and you can live close to where you work and avoid a daily ride altogether. Austin’s moderate climate makes walking to work a possibility most days of the year, with the added benefit of getting your exercise, too. The growth of downtown housing options makes commuting on foot a viable option for people who work in the urban center. AIRPORT Opened in 1999, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is a valuable asset for business travelers and shippers. Air Canada, AirTran Airways, Alaska Airlines, Allegiant, American Airlines, British Airways, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways, and Virgin America served 10.7 million passengers in 2014. These airlines offer nonstop service to 41 destinations and connections to numerous other destinations. Air cargo shipments pass through a $20 million state-of-the-art cargo facility opened in 1997. Cargo shipped from ABIA in 2014 totaled 155.4 million pounds (and in past years the facility has handled as much as 357.3 million pounds). Whether you are flying for business or pleasure, ABIA, awarded the 2011 Air Service Quality Award, delivers the complete Austin experience all within its concourse! Sample some of Austin’s favorite local eateries like Salt Lick BBQ or Maudie’s Tex-Mex, while enjoying live music from famous and promising musicians courtesy of the airport’s “Music in the Air” program. Travelers can stay wired by accessing the free Wi-Fi service available throughout the airport. Business travelers on the run can enjoy a quick check-in through self-serve kiosks, curbside check-in, or on-airport parking with convenient walk-up and shuttle options. If ground transportation is what you need, ABIA offers a variety of transportation modes with taxis, buses, car rentals, limousine services, and Capital Metro’s Airport Flyer, all available outside baggage claim. Drivers in Central Texas are getting where they need to go faster and safer thanks to the Austin-area toll roads. Loop 1, State Highway (SH) 45, SH 130, and SH 183A have brought welcome relief from traffic congestion and gridlock for thousands of motorists every day. A new 7.4-mile toll road connects the SH 130 toll road at its south end to I-35. Drivers can now avoid traffic congestion through Central Austin and travel nonstop from Georgetown to Buda on the SH 130/SH 45 toll bypass. GET A TxTAG There’s no stopping or slowing down to pay, no waiting in line and no searching for change. Devices above the toll road send a signal to the microchip inside the electronic TxTag sticker on your car and automatically deduct the toll from your prepaid TxTag account. Plus, drivers with a TxTag receive a 10% discount on tolls in Central Texas. WHERE CAN I GET A TxTAG? To open a TxTag account, go online to TxTag.org or call the Customer Service Center at 888-468-9824. TxTag is accepted throughout Texas, so you can use it in Central Texas, plus Dallas, Houston, and Tyler. The Dallas-Fort Worth area TollTag and the Houston EZ TAG are also accepted on Austin-area toll roads. NO TOLL TAG? NO PROBLEM. When a driver does not stop to pay at a tollbooth, cameras above the toll lanes will photograph the license plate, and the vehicle owner will receive a monthly bill for toll charges. We call it “Pay By Mail.” The Pay By Mail toll rates are one-third more than TxTag rates to offset the costs related to processing the license plate information. Also, a $1 fee is applied to each monthly bill for non-tag customers. Austin drivers also have the option to pay with cash at a tollbooth or coin machine. For more information on Austin area toll roads, visit: TexasTollways.com
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