VIA Metropolitan Transit

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VIA Metropolitan Transit
The New VIA.svg
Slogan "We're Going Places"
Founded 1977
Headquarters 1021 San Pedro Avenue
San Antonio, Texas
United States
Service area San Antonio and Bexar County
Service type Local, Express, Bus Rapid Transit (2012)
Routes Total: 91
Local: 79
Express: 8
Streetcar: 3
Sightseer: 1
BRT: 1
Stops 6,994
Hubs Park & Ride: 6
Transit Center: 4
Fleet 540
Daily ridership 148,500 (Q3 2012)[1]
Fuel type Diesel, Diesel-electric hybrid, CNG
Board of Trustees Alex Breseño, Chair
Website viainfo.net
A VIA bus at an intersection in Downtown San Antonio.

VIA Metropolitan Transit (or simply VIA) is the mass transit agency serving San Antonio, Texas, USA. It began operation in 1978 as a successor to the San Antonio Transit System.

In addition to the entire city of San Antonio, VIA serves many other Bexar County municipalities, including Alamo Heights, Balcones Heights, Castle Hills, China Grove, Converse, Elmendorf, Kirby, Leon Valley, Olmos Park, Shavano Park, St. Hedwig and Terrell Hills. It also serves unincorporated portions of the county, including Kings Point and Losoya.[2] While VIA does not directly serve some Bexar County municipalities such as Hill Country Village, Hollywood Park, Live Oak, Selma, Schertz, Universal City and Windcrest, many of these suburbs are within driving proximity of outlying park and ride facilities.

The majority of the system utilizes transit buses. VIA also provides Downtown San Antonio with a streetcar circular service utilized by office workers and tourists.

History[edit]

VIA was created in 1977 when the citizens of Bexar County voted in favor of a one-half cent sales tax to fund the service. Subsequently, VIA purchased transit assets from the City of San Antonio and began operations in March 1978, taking its name from the Latin word for "road". In 2004, city voters in San Antonio approved the formation of the Advanced Transportation District. This quarter-cent sales tax expanded and improved VIA operations.[3]

VIA has received several accolades from the American Public Transportation Association, most notably the award for Best Transit System in North America in 1990, as well as several of APTA's safety awards in multiple years.[3]

Services[edit]

VIA's original logo, used until 2014

VIA operates more than 500 buses (all are wheelchair accessible) on 91 bus lines ranging from routes 2 to 660, serving the entire city of San Antonio and the majority of Bexar County. About 36 million trips are made on VIA every year.[citation needed] The bus lines are separated into Metro, Frequent service routes, Skip (limited stop routes), and Express routes, as well as Streetcar routes (serving Downtown and Southtown only) and the VIA Primo bus rapid transit line.[4][5] VIA provides special event service from its Park & Ride locations to events such as San Antonio Spurs basketball games at the AT&T Center, selected annual Fiesta San Antonio activities, and the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo.[6] VIA also offers "VIATrans" paratransit services for disabled travelers.

Fares for VIA have remained relatively modest during its existence. At its inception in 1978, fares were 25 cents for most routes. Fares for most fixed routes during 2006 were 80 cents and a monthly bus pass was $20, much lower than most transit systems in the country. On January 1, 2007, basic fares were raised to $1 and monthly pass prices were raised to $25. Basic fares increased to $1.10 and monthly pass prices were raised to $30 on January 1, 2009.[7] As of March 1, 2013, the basic bus fare is $1.20 and a monthly pass is $35.[8]

Bus rapid transit[edit]

VIA added a bus rapid transit (BRT) service known as VIA Primo to the Fredericksburg Road corridor on December 17, 2012. Designated as Route 100, it connects the South Texas Medical Center to Downtown San Antonio. It also connects the main campus of the University of Texas at San Antonio to its downtown campus using an extension from the Medical Center to UTSA Main Campus. A second extension runs from the Medical Center to the nearby independent city of Leon Valley.[9] VIA Primo opened on December 17, 2012 and became VIA Metropolitan Transit's first non-conventional bus offering.[10] VIA is looking into other corridors to which to add bus rapid transit in the coming decades.[11]

While the new 100 route replaced two busy routes on the heavily utilized Fredericksburg corrdior – the 91 (skip-stop) and the 92 (frequent), it did not affect multiple stop service from other routes that also run along their portions of Fredericksburg (metro route 96 and 97 and frequent route 520). Unlike the 91 or the 92, which continued down lower Fredericksburg (still served by 96 and 97) to downtown along the Navarro/St. Mary's one-way couplet, the 100 opts for nonstop service on I-10 between Fredericksburg and Downtown, then uses the Market/Commerce couplet.

Governance[edit]

VIA is governed by an eleven-member Board of Trustees, all of whom have two-year terms.[12]

Ten of the trustees are appointed by the various governmental entities in Bexar County—the City of San Antonio appoints five members, the Bexar County Commissioners Court appoints three, and the mayors of the suburban cities acting in concert appoint two. The appointed trustees then elect a chairperson as the Board's eleventh member. The current President and CEO is Jeffrey C. Arndt.[citation needed]

Types of routes[edit]

Types of VIA Metropolitan Transit Bus Lines
Type of Route Map/Schedule Color Service Examples One-Way Fare
Metro Purple Bus Service from Downtown San Antonio to specific suburban areas or projects, or from specific Transit Centers and Park & Rides to specific suburban areas or projects. This is also the designation for a "normal" route. Buses run either every 30 minutes or every 60 minutes. Some routes have peak sections where the frequency may be increased. 8 – North St. Mary's
90 – Woodlawn
603 – Medical Center/UTSA
$1.20
Frequent Red Similar to Metro Service, but runs more frequently. Frequent routes have buses that run every 15 minutes or 20 minutes during most of the day. 14 – Perrin-Beitel Frequent
524 – General McMullen Frequent
$1.20
Skip Green Skip routes are Metro routes that cover frequently traveled roads in San Antonio, and are modified to have fewer stops along the way to improve travel times. 76 – Old Highway 90 Skip
550/551 – Looper (Loop 410) Skip
$1.20
Express Orange Express Routes are routes that cover major highway arteries in San Antonio. Express Routes are designed for quick travel from Downtown to suburban areas or Park & Rides (and vice versa) down these highways with very few stops. Some Express Routes are also dedicated specifically for transport from military bases to the Downtown USO club. These buses feature onboard WiFi for extra connectivity. 17 – I-35 North Express
48 – I-35 South Express
93 – I-10 Express/UTSA
$2.50
Primo (BRT) Blue VIA Primo runs along the Fredericksburg Road corridor, connecting UTSA and the South Texas Medical Center to Downtown. Like the Express buses, Primo also features onboard WiFi for extra connectivity. 100 – Primo $1.20
Sightseer Turquoise The Sightseer Special is a specially designed Skip Route that specifically stops at several landmarks and tourist attractions in Brackenridge Park and Downtown San Antonio. 7 – Sightseer Special $1.20
Streetcar Red and Blue Streetcar Routes are designed for Downtown and Southtown sightseeing in retrofitted historic streetcars. Each streetcar has a route sign with a symbol and a color to signal what route it is on. Red Streetcar Route
Blue Streetcar Route
$1.20

Routes[edit]

Standard VIA bus stop signage with the agency's original logo

The following is a list of VIA's numbered routes as of June 10, 2013.[13] Many routes that travel through Downtown San Antonio or change directions at a major transfer point continue with a different number; this route pair is also indicated.[2][14]

# Route Name Major Destination Points Route Pair
2 Blanco US 281/Loop 1604, Parliament Square, North Star Transit Center, Downtown 34
3 San Pedro Skip Blossom Park & Ride, North Star Mall, North Star Transit Center, Downtown 46
4 San Pedro Frequent North Star Transit Center, North Star Mall, Downtown 20
5 McCullough San Antonio International Airport, Olmos Park, North Star Mall, North Star Transit Center, Downtown 30
6 US 281 Express US 281/Loop 1604, Parkhills Park & Ride, Downtown
7 Sightseer Special Botanical Garden, Witte Museum, San Antonio Zoo, San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio Children's Museum, Downtown 70
8 North Saint Mary's Randolph Park & Ride, Alamo Heights, University of the Incarnate Word, Trinity University, Downtown 67
9 Broadway Nacogdoches Road Business Park, Alamo Heights, Downtown 43
10 Nacogdoches/Broadway Naco Pass, Alamo Heights, Downtown 44
14 Perrin-Beitel Frequent Naco Pass, Terrell Hills, Alamo Heights, University of the Incarnate Word, Downtown 79
16 Fort Sam Houston/USO Express Fort Sam Houston, USO 65
17 IH-35 North Express Randolph Park & Ride, Downtown 93, 94
20 New Braunfels Frequent Brookside, City Base Landing, San Antonio State Hospital, McCreless Marketplace, San Antonio College, Downtown 4
21 Kirby/Converse Randolph Park & Ride, Converse, Kirby, Downtown 77
22 Hays Frequent Sutton Homes, Rivercenter Mall, Downtown
24 East Houston Frequent Eastwood Industrial Park, AT&T Center, Wheatley Courts, Ellis Alley Park & Ride, Downtown 66
25 East Commerce Frequent Royal View, Huntleigh Park, Honey, Ellis Alley Park & Ride, Downtown 75
26 Martin Luther King Eastwood Village, St. Philip's College, Alamodome, Downtown 68
28 Porter Dellcrest, Southeast Baptist Hospital, Alamodome, Downtown 76
30 Rigsby St. Hedwig, Lone Oak, China Grove, Dellcrest, Comanche Park, Alamodome, Downtown 5
32 Steves Highland Hills, Texas Department of Human Services, Downtown 96
34 South Saint Mary's Brooks City Base, McCreless Marketplace, Juvenile Detention Center, Downtown 2
36 South Presa Elmendorf, Brooks City Base, New Braunfels State Hospital, Downtown 90
42 Roosevelt Villa Coronado, Losoya, Mission Road Development Center, Downtown 88
43 South Flores Kingsborough, Bellaire, Downtown 9
44 Pleasanton Moursund/Loop 410, Downtown 10
46 Commercial Kingsborough, Commercial, Downtown 3
48 IH-35 South Express Kings Point, Madla Transit Center, Downtown
51 Nogalitos Madla Transit Center, Southwest General Hospital, Downtown 82
54 South Alamo Palm Heights, Zarzamora Public Health Clinic, Downtown 97
62 Kirk Port San Antonio, Downtown 89
64 US 90 Express Northwest Vista College, SeaWorld, Kel-Lac Transit Center, Downtown
65 Lackland AFB/USO Express Lackland AFB BMT Reception Center, USO Downtown 16
66 Ceralvo Frequent University Southwest Family Health Center, Downtown 24
67 Laredo Las Palmas Shopping Center, Downtown 8
68 Guadalupe Frequent University Southwest Family Health Center, Las Palmas Shopping Center, Downtown 26
70 Cesar Chavez Las Palmas Shopping Center, Downtown 7
75 West Commerce Frequent University Southwest Family Health Center, Acme Park, Our Lady of the Lake University, Downtown 25
76 Old Highway 90 West Skip Kel-Lac Transit Center, Our Lady of the Lake University, Downtown 28
77 Martin Loma Terrace, Downtown 21
79 Ruiz Frequent Rosedale Park, University Downtown Health Center, Downtown 14
82 Culebra Ingram Transit Center, Ingram Mall, Northside Athletic Complex, SW Research Center, St. Mary's University, Downtown 51
88 Bandera Mainland, Leon Valley, Downtown 42
89 Poplar Ingram Transit Center, University Downtown Health Center, Downtown 62
90 Woodlawn Ingram Transit Center, Ingram Mall, St. Mary's University, San Antonio College, Downtown 36
93 IH-10 Crossroads/UTSA Express UTSA, Valero, University Park & Ride, Crossroads Park & Ride, UTSA Downtown, Downtown 17
94 IH-10 Fiesta Texas Express The Rim, Fiesta Texas, The Shops at La Cantera, UTSA, University Park & Ride, Crossroads Park & Ride (weekends), Downtown 17
95 Fredericksburg Crossroads Park & Ride, Deco District, Downtown
96 Vance Jackson University Heights Business Park, Deco District, Downtown 32
97 West Avenue The Rim, University Heights Business Park, Castle Hills, Deco District, Downtown 54
100 Primo (Fredericksburg) Ellis Alley Park & Ride, Downtown, Westside Multimodal Transit Center, South Texas Medical Center, Medical Center Transit Center, UTSA
502 Thousand Oaks Randolph Park & Ride, Morgan's Wonderland, Naco Pass, North Star Transit Center
505 Basse Randolph Park & Ride, Alamo Heights, Crossroads Park & Ride 509, 632
509 Hildebrand Randolph Park & Ride, Northeast Baptist Hospital, Alamo Heights, Deco District, Crossroads Park & Ride 505, 630
515 Southcross Southcross Ranch, Southeast Baptist Hospital, McCreless Marketplace, South San
520 Zarzamora Frequent Crossroads Park & Ride, Deco District, Texas Diabetes Institute, Madla Transit Center, Palo Alto College, Texas A&M University San Antonio
522 Babcock Woodway Park, Medical Center Transit Center, Las Palmas Shopping Center
524 General McMullen Frequent Crossroads Park & Ride, Balcones Heights, Las Palmas Shopping Center, Port San Antonio, Southwest General Hospital, Palo Alto College
534 Wurzbach Ingram Transit Center, Medical Transit Center, North Star Transit Center, Ingram Park Mall, North Star Mall
550 Looper (Clockwise) Skip Randolph Park & Ride, Madla Transit Center, Kel-Lac Transit Center, Ingram Transit Center, Crossroads Park & Ride, North Star Transit Center
551 Looper (Counterclockwise) Skip Randolph Park & Ride, North Star Transit Center, Crossroads Park & Ride, Ingram Transit Center, Kel-Lac Transit Center, Madla Transit Center
600 MedLink Circulator South Texas Medical Center Area
602 North Star/Medical Center North Star Transit Center, Castle Hills, Medical Center Transit Center 604
603 Medical Center/UTSA UTSA, University Park & Ride, University Business Park, USAA, Medical Center Transit Center 605
604 Medical Center/University Park University Business Park, Medical Center Transit Center 602
605 UTSA/Mainland UTSA, Braun Station, Mainland 603
606 Medical Center/Alamo Ranch Medical Center Transit Center, Mainland, Braun Station, Alamo Ranch 607
607 Medical Center/Ingram Ingram Transit Center, Medical Center Transit Center 606
609 Ingram/Mainland Ingram Transit Center, Mainland 618
610 Ingram/Northwest Crossing Northwest Crossing, Ingram Transit Center
611 Valley-Hi/Kel-Lac Valley Hi, Kel-Lac Transit Center 612
612 Kel-Lac/Westlakes Westlakes, Kel-Lac Transit Center 611
613 Heritage Northwest/Kel-Lac Heritage Northwest, Westlakes, Kel-Lac Transit Center 619
614 Hidden Cove/Kel-Lac Hidden Cove, Lackland AFB, Kel-Lac Transit Center 615
615 Kel-Lac/Heritage Park Heritage Park, Westlakes, Kel-Lac Transit Center 614
616 Sky Harbour/Kel-Lac Sky Harbour, Kel-Lac Transit Center 617
617 Kel-Lac/Rainbow Hills Rainbow Hills, Westlakes, Kel-Lac Transit Center 616
618 Ingram/Westlakes Westlakes, Ingram Transit Center 609
619 Kel-Lac/Indian Creek Indian Creek, Lackland AFB, Kel-Lac Transit Center 613
620 Northwest Vista College/Ingram Northwest Vista College, Ingram Transit Center 660
630 Randolph/Sunrise Sunrise, Industry Park, Randolph Park & Ride 505, 632
632 Randolph/Ventura Ventura, The Glen, Randolph Park & Ride 509, 630
640 Valley Forge Rolling Oaks Mall, Valley Forge, Naco Pass 14
641 Knollcreek Rolling Oaks Mall, Knollcreek, Naco Pass 642
642 Nacogdoches Rolling Oaks Mall, Naco Pass 641
647 North Star/Harry Wurzbach The Towers, Alamo Heights, Terrell Hills, North Star Transit Center 648
648 North Star/Stone Oak North Star Transit Center, Arion Business Park, Blossom Park & Ride, North Central Baptist Hospital 647
651 Deco District/Castle Hills Castle Hills, Deco District
660 Northwest Vista College/University Park & Ride University Park & Ride, UTSA, Bandera Pointe, Alamo Ranch, Westover Hills, Northwest Vista College 620

Current fleet[edit]

VIA's fleet consists primarily of diesel, compressed natural gas, and diesel-electric hybrid vehicles. In addition, VIA acquired its first all-electric vehicles, manufactured by Proterra, in February 2013. The vehicles operate on the Red and Blue Streetcar Routes and charge using solar or wind power at the Robert Thompson Transit Station.[15]

Year Manufacturer Model Length (ft.) Fuel Propulsion Fleet Series (Qty.) Notes
1999–01 NABI LFW 40 Diesel 730-946 (217) First low-floor buses in fleet; currently[when?] being repainted in new color schemes
2000 Champion Solo 30 Propane 663-729 (67) Retired from service in 2008
2003, 2004-05, 2006, 2008 NFI D40LF 40 Diesel 200-375 (176)
2010 NABI LFW 40 CNG 947-950 (4) Local service; first CNG buses in fleet
2010 NFI DE40LFR 40 Hybrid 376-405 (30) Express service; first hybrid buses in fleet
2012-13 NABI 60-BRT 60 CNG 951-969 (19) VIA Primo BRT (Fredericksburg Road) service; 16 buses in series
2012 Proterra BE35 EcoRide 35 Electric 115-117 (3) Downtown circulator service; first all electric buses in fleet
2005 Optima Trolley Replica 30 Propane 96-114 (19) Downtown circulator service

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ridership Report Archives". American Public Transportation Association. Retrieved February 17, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "VIA System Map". VIA Metropolitan Transit. March 4, 2013. Retrieved March 11, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "History". VIA Metropolitan Transit. Retrieved March 14, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Expressly for Commuters". VIA Metropolitan Transit. Retrieved March 13, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Downtown Transit". VIA Metropolitan Transit. Retrieved March 13, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Special Event Service". VIA Metropolitan Transit. Retrieved March 12, 2013. 
  7. ^ "New fares in effect January 1". VIA Metropolitan Transit. December 15, 2008. Retrieved March 13, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Fares & Passes". VIA Metropolitan Transit. Retrieved March 11, 2013. 
  9. ^ VIA Reforms http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/traffic/VIA_well_along_road_to_change.html[dead link]
  10. ^ "VIA Primo". VIA Metropolitan Transit. Retrieved March 13, 2013. 
  11. ^ VIA Metropolitan Transit Destination 2012. Fredericksburg BRT Route. Retrieved on 2009-03-07.[dead link]
  12. ^ "Board of Trustees". VIA Metropolitan Transit. Retrieved March 13, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Bus Schedules". VIA Metropolitan Transit. Retrieved March 11, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Via Major Downtown Bus Stops". VIA Metropolitan Transit. December 17, 2012. Retrieved March 13, 2013. 
  15. ^ Davila, Vianna (February 26, 2013). "VIA rolls out electric buses". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved March 14, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 29°26′34″N 98°29′58″W / 29.44278°N 98.49944°W / 29.44278; -98.49944