VIA offers new routes, shorter waits for riders in 2018

Direct routes, fewer stops, shorter commute times: getting around San Antonio on public transportation just got a little easier. As KENS 5 Eyewitness News reporter Priya Sridhar shows us, VIA is making major changes to accommodate more riders.

SAN ANTONIO - 2018 means more options and less wait times for VIA passengers. 

Sonia Vasquez takes three buses to get to work. Her last bus, the 615, is one of nine routes that now has pick-ups every thirty minutes, down from an hour. 

"In transit, it's frequency, frequency, frequency. If you don't have that frequency then it's very difficult to convince people to leave that car behind," said Jeffrey Arndt, President of VIA. 

Routes 502, 602, 607, 611, 613, 615, 616, 617, 618 will now run every 30 minutes from 6 A.M. to 6 P.M. on weekdays. 

Two routes along the New Braunfels and MLK corridors, routes 20 and 26, will now operate every 12 minutes from 6 A.M. to 6 P.M. on weekdays. 

The city contributed $4.3 million to fund the higher frequencies. Next year that contribution will go up to $10 million to help fund two new Primo routes along Zarzamora and Southeast Military. 

In March, VIA plans to unveil the Stone Oak Park and Ride at 281 and Stone Oak Parkway that will feature two direct services to the Medical Center and downtown. 

"It allows all the people on the intersecting routes to travel more directly to the medical center, so trying to build a network that provides a little bit more flexibility and does not require people to travel all the way into downtown and back out," Arndt said. 

VIA officials say they carry around 42 million passenger trips per year.

"We've seen a decline in ridership over the last several years as gas prices have stayed very low and employment has stayed very high. Wo we are impacted by that and part of the thing, from my perspective, in order to make transit attractive under those circumstances, you have to have a pretty high quality of service so that's where we're headed," Arndt said. 

They say as San Antonio's population continues to grow, it's more important that the city has options when it comes to transportation. 

© 2018 KENS-TV


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