VIA Metropolitan Transit

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VIA Metropolitan Transit
logo
Slogan"We're Going Places"
Founded1977
Headquarters1021 San Pedro Avenue
San Antonio, Texas
United States
Service areaSan Antonio and Bexar County
Service typeLocal, Express, Bus Rapid Transit (2012)
RoutesTotal: 91
Local: 79
Express: 8
Streetcar: 3
Sightseer: 1
BRT: 1
Stops6,994
HubsPark & Ride: 6
Transit Center: 4
Fleet540
Daily ridership148,500 (Q3 2012)[1]
Fuel typeDiesel, Diesel-electric hybrid, CNG
Board of TrusteesHenry R. Muñoz, III, Chair
Websiteviainfo.net
 
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VIA Metropolitan Transit
logo
Slogan"We're Going Places"
Founded1977
Headquarters1021 San Pedro Avenue
San Antonio, Texas
United States
Service areaSan Antonio and Bexar County
Service typeLocal, Express, Bus Rapid Transit (2012)
RoutesTotal: 91
Local: 79
Express: 8
Streetcar: 3
Sightseer: 1
BRT: 1
Stops6,994
HubsPark & Ride: 6
Transit Center: 4
Fleet540
Daily ridership148,500 (Q3 2012)[1]
Fuel typeDiesel, Diesel-electric hybrid, CNG
Board of TrusteesHenry R. Muñoz, III, Chair
Websiteviainfo.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. VIA's employees are organized with the Amalgamated Transit Union.

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, San Antonians 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 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 (2013-03-01), the basic bus fare is $1.20 and a monthly pass is $35.[8]

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)[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.[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. Keith T. Parker is VIA's President and CEO; on October 4, 2012, however, he was tapped to be General Manager and CEO of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, whose current head, Beverly A. Scott, is going to Boston to head the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.[13]

Types of routes[edit]

Types of VIA Metropolitan Transit Bus Lines
Type of RouteMap/Schedule ColorServiceExamplesOne-Way Fare
MetroPurpleBus 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
FrequentRedSimilar 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
SkipGreenSkip 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
ExpressOrangeExpress 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-n-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
$2.50
Primo (BRT)BlueVIA Primo runs along the Fredericksburg Road corridor, connecting UTSA and the South Texas Medical Center to Downtown.100 – Primo$1.20
SightseerTurquoiseThe 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
StreetcarRed and BlueStreetcar 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.

The following is a list of VIA's numbered routes as of June 10, 2013.[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][15]

#Route NameMajor Destination PointsRoute Pair
2BlancoUS 281/Loop 1604, Parliament Square, North Star Transit Center, Downtown34
3San Pedro SkipBlossom Park & Ride, North Star Mall, North Star Transit Center, Downtown46
4San Pedro FrequentNorth Star Transit Center, North Star Mall, Downtown20
5McCulloughSan Antonio International Airport, Olmos Park, North Star Mall, North Star Transit Center, Downtown30
6US 281 ExpressUS 281/Loop 1604, Parkhills Park & Ride, Downtown
7Sightseer SpecialBotanical Garden, Witte Museum, San Antonio Zoo, San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio Children's Museum, Downtown70
8North Saint Mary'sRandolph Park & Ride, Alamo Heights, University of the Incarnate Word, Trinity University, Downtown67
9BroadwayNacogdoches Road Business Park, Alamo Heights, Downtown43
10Nacogdoches/BroadwayNaco Pass, Alamo Heights, Downtown44
14Perrin-Beitel FrequentNaco Pass, Terrell Hills, Alamo Heights, University of the Incarnate Word, Downtown79
16Fort Sam Houston/USO ExpressFort Sam Houston, USO65
17IH-35 North ExpressRandolph Park & Ride, Downtown93, 94
20New Braunfels FrequentBrookside, City Base Landing, San Antonio State Hospital, McCreless Marketplace, San Antonio College, Downtown4
21Kirby/ConverseRandolph Park & Ride, Converse, Kirby, Downtown77
22Hays FrequentSutton Homes, Rivercenter Mall, Downtown
24East Houston FrequentEastwood Industrial Park, AT&T Center, Wheatley Courts, Ellis Alley Park & Ride, Downtown66
25East Commerce FrequentRoyal View, Huntleigh Park, Honey, Ellis Alley Park & Ride, Downtown75
26Martin Luther KingEastwood Village, St. Philip's College, Alamodome, Downtown68
28PorterDellcrest, Southeast Baptist Hospital, Alamodome, Downtown76
30RigsbySt. Hedwig, Lone Oak, China Grove, Dellcrest, Comanche Park, Alamodome, Downtown5
32StevesHighland Hills, Texas Department of Human Services, Downtown96
34South Saint Mary'sBrooks City Base, McCreless Marketplace, Juvenile Detention Center, Downtown2
36South PresaElmendorf, Brooks City Base, New Braunfels State Hospital, Downtown90
42RooseveltVilla Coronado, Losoya, Mission Road Development Center, Downtown88
43South FloresKingsborough, Bellaire, Downtown9
44PleasantonMoursund/Loop 410, Downtown10
46CommercialKingsborough, Commercial, Downtown3
48IH-35 South ExpressKings Point, Madla Transit Center, Downtown
51NogalitosMadla Transit Center, Southwest General Hospital, Downtown82
54South AlamoPalm Heights, Zarzamora Public Health Clinic, Downtown97
62KirkPort San Antonio, Downtown89
64US 90 ExpressNorthwest Vista College, SeaWorld, Kel-Lac Transit Center, Downtown
65Lackland AFB/USO ExpressLackland AFB BMT Reception Center, USO Downtown16
66Ceralvo FrequentUniversity Southwest Family Health Center, Downtown24
67LaredoLas Palmas Shopping Center, Downtown8
68Guadalupe FrequentUniversity Southwest Family Health Center, Las Palmas Shopping Center, Downtown26
70Cesar ChavezLas Palmas Shopping Center, Downtown7
75West Commerce FrequentUniversity Southwest Family Health Center, Acme Park, Our Lady of the Lake University, Downtown25
76Old Highway 90 West SkipKel-Lac Transit Center, Our Lady of the Lake University, Downtown28
77MartinLoma Terrace, Downtown21
79Ruiz FrequentRosedale Park, University Downtown Health Center, Downtown14
82CulebraIngram Transit Center, Ingram Mall, Northside Athletic Complex, SW Research Center, St. Mary's University, Downtown51
88BanderaMainland, Leon Valley, Downtown42
89PoplarIngram Transit Center, University Downtown Health Center, Downtown62
90WoodlawnIngram Transit Center, Ingram Mall, St. Mary's University, San Antonio College, Downtown36
93IH-10 Crossroads/UTSA ExpressUTSA, Valero, University Park & Ride, Crossroads Park & Ride, UTSA Downtown, Downtown17
94IH-10 Fiesta Texas ExpressThe Rim, Fiesta Texas, The Shops at La Cantera, UTSA, University Park & Ride, Crossroads Park & Ride (weekends), Downtown17
95FredericksburgCrossroads Park & Ride, Deco District, Downtown
96Vance JacksonUniversity Heights Business Park, Deco District, Downtown32
97West AvenueThe Rim, University Heights Business Park, Castle Hills, Deco District, Downtown54
100Primo (Fredericksburg)Ellis Alley Park & Ride, Downtown, Westside Multimodal Transit Center, South Texas Medical Center, Medical Center Transit Center, UTSA
502Thousand OaksRandolph Park & Ride, Morgan's Wonderland, Naco Pass, North Star Transit Center
505BasseRandolph Park & Ride, Alamo Heights, Crossroads Park & Ride509, 632
509HildebrandRandolph Park & Ride, Northeast Baptist Hospital, Alamo Heights, Deco District, Crossroads Park & Ride505, 630
515SouthcrossSouthcross Ranch, Southeast Baptist Hospital, McCreless Marketplace, South San
520Zarzamora FrequentCrossroads Park & Ride, Deco District, Texas Diabetes Institute, Madla Transit Center, Palo Alto College, Texas A&M University San Antonio
522BabcockWoodway Park, Medical Center Transit Center, Las Palmas Shopping Center
524General McMullen FrequentCrossroads Park & Ride, Balcones Heights, Las Palmas Shopping Center, Port San Antonio, Southwest General Hospital, Palo Alto College
534WurzbachIngram Transit Center, Medical Transit Center, North Star Transit Center, Ingram Park Mall, North Star Mall
550Looper (Clockwise) SkipRandolph Park & Ride, Madla Transit Center, Kel-Lac Transit Center, Ingram Transit Center, Crossroads Park & Ride, North Star Transit Center
551Looper (Counterclockwise) SkipRandolph Park & Ride, North Star Transit Center, Crossroads Park & Ride, Ingram Transit Center, Kel-Lac Transit Center, Madla Transit Center
600MedLink CirculatorSouth Texas Medical Center Area
602North Star/Medical CenterNorth Star Transit Center, Castle Hills, Medical Center Transit Center604
603Medical Center/UTSAUTSA, University Park & Ride, University Business Park, USAA, Medical Center Transit Center605
604Medical Center/University ParkUniversity Business Park, Medical Center Transit Center602
605UTSA/MainlandUTSA, Braun Station, Mainland603
606Medical Center/Alamo RanchMedical Center Transit Center, Mainland, Braun Station, Alamo Ranch607
607Medical Center/IngramIngram Transit Center, Medical Center Transit Center606
609Ingram/MainlandIngram Transit Center, Mainland618
610Ingram/Northwest CrossingNorthwest Crossing, Ingram Transit Center
611Valley-Hi/Kel-LacValley Hi, Kel-Lac Transit Center612
612Kel-Lac/WestlakesWestlakes, Kel-Lac Transit Center611
613Heritage Northwest/Kel-LacHeritage Northwest, Westlakes, Kel-Lac Transit Center619
614Hidden Cove/Kel-LacHidden Cove, Lackland AFB, Kel-Lac Transit Center615
615Kel-Lac/Heritage ParkHeritage Park, Westlakes, Kel-Lac Transit Center614
616Sky Harbour/Kel-LacSky Harbour, Kel-Lac Transit Center617
617Kel-Lac/Rainbow HillsRainbow Hills, Westlakes, Kel-Lac Transit Center616
618Ingram/WestlakesWestlakes, Ingram Transit Center609
619Kel-Lac/Indian CreekIndian Creek, Lackland AFB, Kel-Lac Transit Center613
620Northwest Vista College/IngramNorthwest Vista College, Ingram Transit Center660
630Randolph/SunriseSunrise, Industry Park, Randolph Park & Ride505, 632
632Randolph/VenturaVentura, The Glen, Randolph Park & Ride509, 630
640Valley ForgeRolling Oaks Mall, Valley Forge, Naco Pass14
641KnollcreekRolling Oaks Mall, Knollcreek, Naco Pass642
642NacogdochesRolling Oaks Mall, Naco Pass641
647North Star/Harry WurzbachThe Towers, Alamo Heights, Terrell Hills, North Star Transit Center648
648North Star/Stone OakNorth Star Transit Center, Arion Business Park, Blossom Park & Ride, North Central Baptist Hospital647
651Deco District/Castle HillsCastle Hills, Deco District
660Northwest Vista College/University Park & RideUniversity Park & Ride, UTSA, Bandera Pointe, Alamo Ranch, Westover Hills, Northwest Vista College620

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.[16]

YearManufacturerModelLength (ft.)Fuel PropulsionFleet Series (Qty.)Notes
1999–01NABILFW40Diesel730-946 (217)First low-floor buses in fleet; currently[when?] being repainted in new color schemes
2000ChampionSolo30Propane663-729 (67)Retired from service in 2008
2003, 2004-05, 2006, 2008NFID40LF40Diesel200-375 (139)
2010NABILFW40CNG947-950 (4)Local service; first CNG buses in fleet
2010NFIDE40LFR40Hybrid376-405 (30)Express service; first hybrid buses in fleet
2012NABI60-BRT60CNG951-966 (16)VIA Primo BRT (Fredericksburg Road) service; 16 buses in series
2012ProterraBE35 EcoRide35Electric115-117 (3)Downtown circulator service; first all electric buses in fleet
2005OptimaTrolley Replica30Propane96-114 (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. ^ Williams, Dave (October 4, 2012). "San Antonio Transit Chief to Head MARTA". Atlanta Business Chronicle. Retrieved October 5, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Bus Schedules". VIA Metropolitan Transit. Retrieved March 11, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Via Major Downtown Bus Stops". VIA Metropolitan Transit. December 17, 2012. Retrieved March 13, 2013. 
  16. ^ 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