DANIEL CLIFTON • EDITOR
MARBLE FALLS — Since joining the Capital Area Rural Transit System board 24 years ago, Blanco County commissioner Paul Granberg has witnessed the need for the program grow, which made Jan. 13 even more relevant.
“I believe, without (CARTS), it would be very difficult for some people in the area to really get around,” he said as he stood in the newest cog in the CARTS wheel.
Granberg and other CARTS officials as well as Burnet County and Marble Falls leaders celebrated the opening of the Marble Falls CARTS depot.
The ceremony was fittingly held in an old train depot.
The Austin-based CARTS serves the transportation needs of nine counties in Central Texas. Before the Marble Falls regional location opened, CARTS operated twice a week in the area, picking up and dropping off passengers in a parking lot on Main Street and at Walmart on U.S. 281.
The system also operates the Country Bus in Burnet County, which offers “curb-to-curb” service by phone reservation.
The Marble Falls center at 801 U.S. 281 opens up a new world of transportation opportunities for residents.
“We have a lot of different services for the different areas,” said Dana Platt, CARTS marketing and outreach coordinator. “With this location in Marble Falls, you can get on — it goes through Burnet and Bertram — but you can get all the way into Austin. And once in Austin, we have other buses and connections.”
Through CARTS, a person could travel from Marble Falls or Burnet all the way to Giddings, La Grange, Luling, or San Marcos — and many stops in between.
The Marble Falls location will offer CARTS tickets and passes but also Greyhound bus tickets, Platt said.
The CARTS Interurban Coach, which serves Burnet County, could get a passenger to Austin, where they then could make the jump to Greyhound.
“We also offer connections with the different CapMetro services,” Platt added.
Ticket prices for the Interurban Coach are $2 one way within one county, $4 one way anywhere in the CARTS district, and $6 for an all-day pass.
“There’s also monthly passes available,” Platt added.
The new CARTS regional center takes a trip back in history. The building is an old railroad depot constructed in 1893 that was originally located on the west side of Marble Falls. It was moved to its current location in 1976. Most recently, the Marble Falls/Lake LBJ Chamber of Commerce used it as its visitors center until 2013.
Since CARTS announced the project, crews have upgraded the depot in preparation for its new purpose. Officials said the new Marble Falls regional hub will have staff present at least twice a week. Currently, CARTS offers Interurban Coach services Tuesdays and Thursdays. Go to ridecarts.com for a complete schedule and more information.
The Marble Falls location gives CARTS a more visible presence in the community, one officials hope will bring more attention to the service.
“It’s definitely needed, especially in the rural counties,” Branberg added.