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VIA Shortens Wait Times For Some San Antonio Routes

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Joey Palacios
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Texas Public Radio
VIA Metropolitian Transit's headquarters on North Medina Street

The wait time for a bus will be shorter for some commuters as VIA Metropolitan Transit increases the frequency of routes throughout San Antonio.

Nine routes across the north and west sides of San Antonio will see wait times between buses drop from an hour to 30 minutes. And two routes on the east and southeast sides will drop from 20 minutes to about 12.

 

“That’s the kind of frequency that really does get the point where people are willing to go out, wait for the bus and take it. So we think it’s not only more convenient for existing riders but now we have a service that we think could entice additional ridership,” said Jeffrey Arndt, president and CEO of VIA.

 

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Credit Joey Palacios / Texas Public Radio
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Texas Public Radio
VIA President and CEO Jeffrey Arndt says increasing frequency along routes wouldn't have been possible without the city's funding assistance

The money comes from San Antonio, which — compared to other Texas cities — uses less of its sales tax revenue to fund its bus system. VIA receives the money from a half-cent sales tax while other cities in Texas, like Austin, Houston and Dallas, receive a full cent. The city is providing $4.3 million to VIA this year. Next year, VIA will receive $10 million.

 

Using its own funding, VIA is also launching two new routes. The new seven route will go from the Stone Oak Park and Ride in far north San Antonio to downtown on U.S. 281 as an express service. The new 503 — a crosstown service — will connect Stone Oak to the Medical Center, using Huebner Road to the Medical Center Transit Center on Babcock.

 

“That is a strong travel corridor,” said Arndt of the Huebner route. “And without the crosstown, you have to pretty much come into downtown and then go back out into the Medical Center. And ... one of the complaints we have besides frequency is the convenience of the system.

“What we’re looking at are a series of routes that would allow people to travel around the system instead of in a radial fashion.”

 

VIA plans to unveil additional routes in May and January 2019.

 

 
Joey Palacios can be reached at joey@tpr.org or on Twitter at @joeycules