Organization VIA Stripes

History

VIA is a metropolitan transit authority created according to Article 1118x of the Texas civil statutes (superseded by Chapter 451 Texas Transportation Code) to provide public transportation services within the designated boundaries.

A confirmation election was held in the majority of Bexar County on November 8, 1977, and voters approved the creation and funding of VIA Metropolitan Transit through a one-half cent sales tax to be levied in San Antonio and seven other incorporated municipalities. In March 1978, VIA purchased transit system assets from the City of San Antonio and began operations.

On November 2, 2004, voters in San Antonio approved the formation of the Advanced Transportation District, or ATD. This district uses a quarter-cent sales tax to fund transportation improvement projects carried out by VIA, the City of San Antonio, and the Texas Department of Transportation, or TxDOT. VIA receives half of the ATD revenues to enhance local public transportation services, and the other half is split between the city and TxDOT for improving streets, highways, and related transportation infrastructure.

VIA Timeline

Year Milestone
1977 By a 5 to 3 margin, residents in San Antonio and five suburban areas vote to establish VIA Metropolitan Transit.
1978 VIA begins operations.
1979 Residents in unincorporated areas of Bexar County and suburban cities of China Grove and Grey Forest vote in VIA service by a margin of 10 to 1.
1980 The 25-foot Chance bus is introduced. VIA’s Maintenance department unveils a newly designed air conditioning system for buses which sparks national interest.
1981 VIA announces plans for downtown streetcar service. The San Antonio Streetcar is the result of years of design work by VIA, the San Antonio Conservation Society, and the Historic Review Board. The Buppets are also introduced as the spokespeople for the transit agency.
1983 Streetcar service begins.
1985 TriParty Plan to improve downtown transportation and pedestrian traffic is approved.
1987 For the third consecutive year, VIA receives the American Public Transit Association’s first place “Silver Award” for safety. Additionally, VIA is the official transportation coordinator for the 1987 Papal Visit.
1988 VIA introduces the Automated Vehicle Monitoring System, an innovative bus management and communication system capable of monitoring the activity of VIA’s fleet.
1990 VIA is named Best Transit System in North America by the American Public Transit Association. VIA opens an on-site Child Development Center, the first of its kind in the transit industry.
1991 The TriParty project is completed. VIA receives its first award from the Government Finance Officers Association for Excellence in Financial Reporting.
1992 VIA launches lift-equipped bus service with the introduction of wheelchair-accessible buses.
1993 The Robert Thompson Transit Station opens, and VIA transports record numbers of passengers to Alamodome events.
1994 VIA ranks second in the nation for cost-effectiveness by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. VIA becomes charter member of CLEAR, a statewide environmental alliance.
1995 VIA receives Achievement Award for bus safety from the American Public Transit Association for the third consecutive year.
1996 VIA introduces Transit Bike Patrol to provide a safer transit environment for bus patrons in the downtown area.
1997 VIA introduces the Ozone Season Pass. VIA installs bicycle racks on buses as part of a pilot program, allowing bus patrons to take their bikes with them on bus trips.
1998 The Federal Transit Administration names VIA “Moving Kids Safely Champion” for its “Classroom on Wheels” program.
1999 The Riverwalk Streetcar Station opens, a result of a partnership between VIA, the City of San Antonio, and the San Antonio Water System; the Streetcar Station provides the first public connection to the Riverwalk that is wheelchair-accessible. VIA’s first low-floor buses (40-foot) from North American Bus Industries are introduced.
2000 VIA begins taking delivery of the agency’s first propane-powered buses (30-foot) manufactured by Champion.
2001 Work begins on the Comprehensive Service Plan, a system-wide assessment of VIA’s bus services that will result in increased productivity and efficiency; new bus routes, schedules, and services planned. Bicycle racks are installed on all VIA buses (excluding streetcars). New Automatic Vehicle Location system replaces previous monitoring system; AVL system uses global positioning technology to better track the activity of VIA’s fleet.
2002 The Customer Information Center at the Ellis Alley Park and Ride opens, a result of combined conservation efforts with S.A. Conservation Society and neighborhood groups; the facility was fashioned out of two historic homes on the near East Side. VIA begins hiring officers for its transit police force.
2003 VIA implements a new system of bus routes as a result of the Comprehensive Service Plan. VIA begins using ultra-low-sulfur diesel in new buses (40-foot) manufactured by New Flyer of America. The first of 400 new advertising shelters are installed. The Child Development Center is recognized by the City of San Antonio as a “Texas Rising Star Provider”. Construction begins on a new transit facility to replace the Kel-Lac Park and Ride.
2004 The new Kel-Lac Transit Center opens. The Propane Education and Research Council recognizes VIA for its use of propane with the Propane Exceptional Energy Fleet Award. VIA is recognized as the Outstanding Metropolitan Transit Agency for 2003 by the Texas Transit Association. The National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve recognizes VIA as a Five Star Employer. Voters in San Antonio approve the Advanced Transportation District by 58 per cent.
2005 VIA’s aging streetcar fleet is replaced by new vehicles that are enclosed, air-conditioned, powered by propane engines, and accessible in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
2006 Installation begins on 700 new bus shelters. Starlight service begins, effectively providing public transportation 24 hours a day. Vanpool service is introduced. The aging VIAtrans van fleet is replaced by new vehicles.
2007 VIA begins selling passes and tickets online through the agency's Web site. VIA's Web site wins the AdWheel award from the American Public Trasnportation Association for "Best Internet Homepage".
2008 Solar panels are installed on the Madla Transit Center to provide power for the facility.
2009 VIA enters into an agreement with CPS Energy to receive wind-generated electricity for all of the agency’s power needs. High-speed wireless internet connections are tested on VIA buses.
2010 The agency’s first compressed natural gas buses and diesel-electric hybrid buses are introduced. High-speed wireless internet connections are installed at VIA’s information centers.
2011 VIA begins projects under the Long Range Comprehensive Transportation Plan
2012 VIA Primo bus rapid transit service begins

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VIA Stripes