Mass Transit and Rapid Transit are terms that do not apply in Austin.
The challenge is to provide alternative transit that is efficient, comfortable/convenient and affordable.
Efficiency would include getting to your destination in a reasonable time. A time that is comparable to the same time it takes an individual driver to take the same route. Another efficiency may be more Park-and-then -Ride lots. Ride shares could be arranged at these location as well. There might be a pleasant building to be in while you wait to meet your bus or ride. There could be coffee and light food available. Maybe even a video screen streaming important and useful or just fun info. ( An Aside: If the city sold it's aluminum cans instead of paying to have them taken away there would be an income stream to help finance a nice transportation way-station)
Comfortable and Convenient would encompass accessibility; is the bus stop close to my home or work. Also, is it shaded? Really; in Austin with 100 degree weather there is a true need for sun protection, to say nothing of protection from rain. The bus stops are desolate uncomfortable places to wait for a bus! Not shaded, not lighted, not protected from the elements. Granted some are a lot better than others. It seems there should be a reasonable assessment of each stop to determine what is needed there. Until bus stops and buses are comfortable and convenient few commuters are going to make the switch to mass transit!
Convenient - Great big empty buses travel on lengthy routes that are not convenient for people. Obviously or they would be full. Why not have smaller busses with shorter dedicated routes? Not one single bus comes into my neighborhood in S. Austin. I walk one mile to the stop.
Affordability seems in place. Although, some people I know have mentioned rate escalation.