VIA Metropolitan Transit

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VIA Metropolitan Transit
The New VIA.svg
Slogan "We're Going Places"
Parent City of San Antonio and Bexar County
Founded 1977
Headquarters 1021 San Pedro Avenue
San Antonio, Texas
United States
Service area Greater San Antonio
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, United States, and its surrounding municipalities. 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 them are within driving proximity of outlying park and ride facilities.

The majority of the system uses transit buses. VIA also provides Downtown San Antonio with a streetcar (VIVA Centro).

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 except streetcars are wheelchair accessible) on 91 bus routes 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 routes are separated into Metro, Frequent service routes, Skip (limited stop routes), and Express routes, as well as VIVA 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¢ for most routes. Fares for most fixed routes during 2006 were 80¢, and a monthly bus pass was $20, much lower than most other 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] On 1 March 2014, the basic bus fare was $1.20; day passes were $4 and a 31-day pass was $35.[8] As of 1 January 2016 the base fare is $1.30; day passes were reduced to $2.75; 7-day passes are $12 and 31-day passes are $38. No fare to kids below 5 who ride with fare-paying rider (limit 3). In addition, when fare is paid in cash, a transfer can be bought for $0.15. Transfers have unlimited use on Local Service for 2.5 h in any direction, with round trips or stopovers prohibited. To transfer from local to express, the difference of the service must be paid. Daily, 7 Day and 31 Day Passes are accept on ALL Routes except for VIA Trans and Special Event Service.

VIA Transit Bus Fares (Effective 1-1-2016)[edit]

Seniors and those with limited mobility ride for a quarter weekdays 09:00-15:00 and free weekends/federal holidays.

Service Adults 12-61 Students /(Ages 5-11)/ Seniors/ Active Military
Local/ VIVA / Primo BRT $1.30 $0.65
Express Bus Service $2.60 $1.30
Special event $2.50 $1.25
VIATrans and Companions $2 $0.90
Day Pass $2.75 $1.35
7 Day Pass $12 $6
31 Day Pass $38 $19
Transfers/Re-transfers per use $0.15/free thereafter. $0.07/free thereafter.

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]

VIA Primo BRT Mary Louise Southbound Station to Downtown

While the new 100 route replaced two busy routes on the heavily used 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 and then uses Frio street to connect to the Centro Plaza between W Houston and Frio Streets. Then Travels the Market/Commerce couplet.

A Primo Bus Departs the Northbound Mary Louise Station to The Medical Center Transit Center.

Special events[edit]

VIA runs special service for major events in San Antonio, ranging from sporting events Like UTSA Home football Games, San Antonio Spurs Home games and the Annual Valero Alamo bowl. Park and Ride Service is usually offered from The Randolph, Crossroads, Parkhills Park and Ride And Frank Madla Transit Center. Some San Antonio Events like Monster Jam, Fiesta San Antonio, The Texas Folklife Festival and Many other Festivities. The cost for the service is $2.50 with discounts for students, children 5-11 seniors 62+, and persons with disabilities.

VIVA Service[edit]

On June 6, 2016 VIA had unveiled 3 new routes with specialized buses to attract locals and visitors to San Antonio's iconic locations, parks, and hotels. The routes are 11 VIVA Culture, 40 VIVA Missions and 301 VIVA Centro. Route 11 Provides Service to McNay Art Museum as well as The Witte Museum, Brackenridge Park, DoSeum, & The Pearl. The Route also has Another branch that service the former route of the 7 Sightseer Special that serves Alamo Stadium, Trinity University, University of Incarnate Word, San Antonio Art Museum, and the San Antonio Zoo. The Route Continues into downtown and serves Alamo Plaza and service to the King William District and Southtown. Route 40 Provides service to San Antonio's Historic Southside Missions along Roosevelt. Future expansion to Mission Espada will be determined on a later date. Route 301 (Similar to the Red Streetcar Line), was modified to serve the northern part of the CBD and replaced the former "E" circulator route. The route services St Paul Square, Alamo Plaza, Market Square and Centro Plaza

Service for the routes as follows:

11 VIVA: Mon-Sun 9am-11:30pm (San Antonio Zoo and McNay branches end at 8:00pm every day, Trips only continue to the Pearl along Broadway and to Southtown )

40 VIVA Mission: Mon-Sun 9am-5:00pm (runs every 30 MInutes from Alamo Plaza)

301 VIVA Culture: Mon-Fri 7am12am; Sat and Sun 9am-12am)

A 11B VIVA Cultue Bus travels along Alamo street in Downtown San Antonio,TX

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.[12] The current President and CEO is Jeffrey C. "Jeff" Arndt.[13]

Types of routes[edit]

Seniors and the disabled ride for half price with VIA ID (seniors and those with limited mobility ride for a quarter weekdays 09:00-15:00 and free weekends/federal holidays). Transfers are $0.07 and charged every use within 150 min, with round trips and stopovers not allowed.

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
$1.30
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. 524 – General McMullen Frequent
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 – West Commerce Skip
550/551 – Looper (Loop 410) Skip
Express Orange Express Routes 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. 17 – I-35 North Express
48 – I-35 South Express
93 – I-10 Express/UTSA
$2.60
Primo (BRT) Blue VIA Primo runs along the Fredericksburg Road corridor, connecting UTSA, Leon Valley and the South Texas Medical Center to Downtown. Like the Express buses, Primo also features onboard WiFi for extra connectivity. 100 – Primo $1.30
VIVA Turquoise The new VIVA Service provides new service with many destinations in downtown San Antonio. The new routes include the 11 VIVA Culture, 40 VIVA Missions, and 301 VIVA Centro. These route fall into the regular service category so regular fare is required. The buses can be identified by their new look VIVA livery buses, which operate with new buses powered by CNG with the exception of route 301, which uses the propane streetcars formerly used for the Red and Blue Lines. 11 Culture, 40 Missions, 301 Centro

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 January 11, 2016.[14] 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]

# Route Name Major Destination Points Route Pair
2 Blanco Frequent US 281/Loop 1604, Parliament Square, North Star Transit Center, Downtown 34
3 San Pedro Skip North Star Mall, North Star Transit Center, Downtown, Centro Plaza 76
4 San Pedro Frequent Blossom Park and Ride, North Star Transit Center, North Star Mall, Downtown 24
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
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
11 VIVA Culture Botanical Garden, Witte Museum, San Antonio Zoo, San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio Children's Museum, Downtown
14 Perrin-Beitel Skip 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, Centro Plaza 66
21 Kirby/Converse Randolph Park & Ride, Converse, Kirby, Downtown 77
22 Hays Frequent Sutton Homes, Rivercenter Mall, Downtown 70
24 East Houston Frequent Eastwood Industrial Park, AT&T Center, Wheatley Courts, Ellis Alley Park & Ride, Downtown 4
25 East Commerce Frequent Royal View, Huntleigh Park, Honey, Ellis Alley Park & Ride, Downtown, Centro Plaza 75
26 Martin Luther King Eastwood Village, St. Philip's College, Alamodome, Downtown, Centro Plaza 68
28 Porter Dellcrest, Southeast Baptist Hospital, Alamodome, Downtown, Centro Plaza 62,89
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 Frequent Brooks City Base, McCreless Marketplace, Juvenile Detention Center, Downtown 2
36 South Presa Elmendorf, Brooks City Base, New Braunfels State Hospital, Downtown 90
40 VIVA Missions The Alamo, Hemisfair Park, Mission San Jose, Mission Concepcion, Mission San Juan
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
48 IH-35 South Express Kings Point, Madla Transit Center, Downtown
51 Nogalitos Frequent 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, Centro Plaza 28,89
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, Centro Plaza 20
67 Laredo Las Palmas Shopping Center, Downtown 8
68 Guadalupe Frequent University Southwest Family Health Center, Las Palmas Shopping Center, Downtown, Centro Plaza 26
70 Cesar Chavez Las Palmas Shopping Center, Downtown 22
75 West Commerce Frequent University Southwest Family Health Center, Acme Park, Our Lady of the Lake University, Downtown, Centro Plaza 25
76 West Commerce Skip Kel-Lac Transit Center, Our Lady of the Lake University, Downtown, Centro Plaza 3
77 Martin Loma Terrace, Downtown 21
79 Ruiz Frequent Rosedale Park, University Downtown Health Center, Downtown 14
82 Culebra Frequent 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, Centro Plaza 28, 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, Centro Plaza 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, Centro Plaza South Texas Medical Center, Medical Center Transit Center, UTSA, Leon Valley
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 Frequent 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
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
2016 NFI XN40 40 CNG 406-420 (15) Feature a special VIVA livery.
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
2016 NOVA Bus LFS Natural Gas 40 CNG (425) New buses to replace old diesel fleet by Late 2017. Delivery of buses will begin late November

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ridership Report Archives". American Public Transportation Association. Retrieved February 17, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "VIA System Map" (PDF). 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. Archived March 6, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ a b "Board of Trustees". VIA Metropolitan Transit. n.d. Retrieved December 2, 2016. 
  13. ^ "Executive Leadership Team". VIA Metropolitan Transit. n.d. Retrieved December 2, 2016. 
  14. ^ "Service Changes to Bring Added Benefits Beginning January 11". www.viainfo.net. Retrieved 2016-01-16. 
  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