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Renae Bonin waits for a bus to arrive outside the little HEB. Daily Record photo by Denise Cathey

Getting around getting easier

Public Transportation
Wednesday, July 18, 2018

San Marcos’ public transit system is growing along with the city’s population, and a partnership with Texas State could help meet the ridership’s needs more efficiently. 

In a presentation to the Council of Neighborhood Associations, GIS/Transit Analyst for the city Pete Binion talked about the growth in ridership and in route offerings the Capital Area Rural Transit System (CARTS) has experienced in San Marcos in just the last five years. He also mentioned a plan to coordinate CARTS routes with Texas State shuttle routes. The two services already share 12 stops and hold monthly meetings, Binion said, and the two entities are working with a transit consultant on a study about coordinating services to serve more riders more efficiently.

Currently, CARTS has a ridership of about 5,800 per month on its seven fixed routes. The service operates from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, except on holidays. There are 109 stops throughout the city. Among the destinations on CARTS routes are the Hays County Justice Center, the post office and the Women Infants and Children (WIC) office. CARTS also offers a senior shopper route on Tuesdays and Thursdays and a complementary para-transit service for people with physical limitations. The para-transit service currently has about 1,100 riders a month, Binion said.

“Our primary objective is to provide safe, reliable transit options for the citizens of San Marcos,” he said. 

CARTS is working to realign some of its routes, sticking to what Binion called “the ice cream rule” — that a person should be able to buy a pint of ice cream at the store, catch a bus, ride the bus and get home before the ice cream melts. 

The transit service has experienced what Binion called a notable increase in ridership over the past two years. From 2016 to 2017, ridership increased 14 percent, and it increased by another 15 percent from 2017 to 2018 (based on the first quarter of the year).

“We attribute that to our marketing, our new buses, and our bus shelters with benches and trash cans we’ve put out in the community,” Binion said, adding that, “Word is getting out that San Marcos has a reliable transit system.”

CARTS is looking at ways to continue providing transportation as the population in San Marcos and the surrounding area continues to grow and as population densities shift. Binion sounded optimistic about the future of public transit in the city.

“I think the sky’s the limit for San Marcos transit,” he said. 

For more information on CARTS routes, visit or call 1-800-456-7433.


San Marcos Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666