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VIA Unveils VIVA Bus Lines Servicing Downtown

Beginning Monday you may have seen some colorful, bright buses on the streets of San Antonio. They’re part of three new bus lines called VIVA. The goal is to connect riders with top attractions throughout the city.

Outside the DoSeum, San Antonio's children’s museum, mass transit staff are wearing colorful VIVA sunglasses and waving fans next to huge balloons.

They’re celebrating three new bus lines.  VIVA Culture will take riders to the city’s museums, parks,  theaters and galleries. Riders can go to the Mission Trail on VIVA Missions, and VIVA Centro connects downtown from Alamo Plaza to Market Square. 

District 3 City Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran says adding the new bus lines will reduce congestion and help the environment.

"It gives more freedom that people can get up and get going and not have to worry about finding parking, how much will it take, is it safe. That’s important, especially for world class cities to have good public transportation options and mass transportation options," she says.

Jeffrey Arndt is VIA’s president and CEO. "We’re trying to make it simple for people to travel within the community. This is not just a route that’s designed just for visitors or conventioneers, although it’s great for them," he says.

Jesus Resendez is one of those natives Ardnt is talking about. He took a regular bus to the Alamo today, but is interested in checking out the VIVA lines. He says he already goes to the Pearl, Southtown and the Blue Star complex,  stops on the VIVA Culture line.

"San Antonians don’t come downtown a lot, so this is really convenient for them to get to know the city a little bit more," Resendez says.

The VIVA routes will run seven days a week and cost the same as standard bus trips.  And, Resendez says, these buses are cute.

Louisa Jonas is an independent public radio producer, environmental writer, and radio production teacher based in Baltimore. She is thrilled to have been a PRX STEM Story Project recipient for which she produced a piece about periodical cicadas. Her work includes documentaries about spawning horseshoe crabs and migratory shorebirds aired on NPR's Weekend All Things Considered. Louisa previously worked as the podcast producer at WYPR 88.1FM in Baltimore. There she created and produced two documentary podcast series: Natural Maryland and Ascending: Baltimore School for the Arts. The Nature Conservancy selected her documentaries for their podcast Nature Stories. She has also produced for the Chemical Heritage Foundation’s Distillations Podcast. Louisa is editor of the book Backyard Carolina: Two Decades of Public Radio Commentary. She holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from University of North Carolina Wilmington. Her training also includes journalism fellowships from the Science Literacy Project and the Knight Digital Media Center, both in Berkeley, CA. Most recently she received a journalism fellowship through Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution where she traveled to Toolik Field Station in Arctic Alaska to study climate change. In addition to her work as an independent producer, she teaches radio production classes at Howard Community College to a great group of budding journalists. She has worked as an environmental educator and canoe instructor but has yet to convince a great blue heron to squawk for her microphone…she remains undeterred.