News

VIA Link Expanding to Northwest San Antonio

Jess Blenkarn
October 7, 2021
 - 
3 min read

Originally posted in Mass Transit Magazine on October 5, 2021.


VIA Metropolitan Transit (VIA) has launched a new on-demand transit option in northwest San Antonio.

VIA’s third VIA Link zone opened Oct. 2, with service connecting the UTSA Main Campus, Northwest Vista College and the surrounding area.

VIA Link is VIA’s on-demand service model that replaces fixed routes with more frequent service for the same fares as regular bus service. It covers 14.4-square miles along 1604 from Babcock to Culebra and on Bandera Road from Loop 1604 to Mainland. Customers can book trips using a free app, online portal or by phone. They’re usually picked up within 20 minutes of booking — an improvement from the current wait times on bus service — and can track and rate their rides.

VIA Link passengers can travel anywhere in the zone, including to work and school, grocery and retail stores, pharmacies, doctor’s appointments, parks, restaurants and more. Customers can also connect directly to routes 64, 88, 93, 501, 603, 606, 609 and 620 at designated transfer points and travel outside the zone. The flexibility provides better frequency, decreases travel times, minimizes walking distances and offers more pick-up and drop-off locations.

Bus routes 605 and 660 that currently operate in the Northwest Zone will continue for at least two months to allow customers to transition to VIA Link service. VIAtrans service will not be affected.

Expanding on-demand service is part of VIA’s Keep SA Moving plan that was overwhelmingly approved by voters in November 2020. At least eight more VIA Link zones are planned, beginning with the Northwest Zone and Sandy Oaks, which began offering VIA Link Express service to Brooks in September.

“VIA Link provides more and better trip options for customers to stay connected to opportunities in the zone and throughout the service area,” said VIA President/CEO Jeffrey C. Arndt. “Expanding VIA Link service to three zones in 2021 moves us closer to fulfilling the goals outlined in the Keep SA Moving plan and the community’s vision for a more mobile future.”

VIA Link Northwest service is available seven days a week from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Customers can book a ride through the VIA Link app, online or by calling. It’s easy to pay using the VIA goMobile+ app, a VIA transit pass or cash. Riders can schedule trips when they need them, rather than following a fixed schedule.

VIA has partnered with RideCo and zTrip to operate the branded VIA Link vans in the zone, with the ability to scale up to meet higher demand during service hours. Each van can seat up to five passengers and can accommodate individuals who have a mobility impairment. Vehicles with a bike rack can be requested during trip booking. Regular VIA fares and reduced fares apply. Students can use their U-Pass to ride VIA Link fare-free.

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