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Vía Board Votes To Raise Regular Bus Fares

Ryan Loyd
Texas Public Radio

The Vía Metropolitan Transit Board voted to increase regular fares on Tuesday night, but it doesn’t mean customers will immediately see increased costs.

A local governmental approval committee consisting of Bexar County Commissioners, members of the San Antonio City Council and members of the suburban council of mayors will still need to give the green light before fares go into effect on Feb. 1.

Vía leaders think the agency's service is a good value, even with a proposed fare increase on the table. The last time rates increased was four years ago, and they say the cost to run its buses has gone up since then. The demand for additional service like the Prímo buses that will run from downtown to the Medical Center also contribute to rising costs.

Vía's Priscilla Ingle said the money collected on the bus only pays for 17 percent of the trip, and "the rest of the money comes through our other revenue sources, which is our sales tax."

Approved Rate Increases:

  • Regular bus service – from $1.10 to $1.20
  • Regular bus half fare – from 55 cents to 60 cents
  • VIAtrans service – from $1.75 to $1.95
  • Monthly Big Pass – from $30.00 to $35.00
  • Monthly Big Pass half fare – from $15.00 to $17.50

Seniors will still get their discounts, which include 25 cent fares during the midday and free rides on weekends. Students will still be able to buy an entire semester pass for $35.
Many remain opposed to the increased cost, saying those who really need to take the bus will be the ones most impacted, and a recovering economy is a bad time to raise fares.

Ingle says they are aggressive in applying for federal dollars, but "grants typically go toward capital projects,” which include things like new buses and park and rides. Ingle said the proposed increase is a very small percentage of the overall budget.

In Dallas, the regular bus fare jumped 75 cents on Dec. 3, putting a regular rate for Dallas Area Rapid Transit at $2.50.

Ryan Loyd was Texas Public Radio's city beat and political reporter. He left the organization in December, 2014.