About VIA

VIA’s Vision
Connecting Our Region

Our Mission: VIA Metropolitan Transit provides regional multimodal transportation options that connect our community to opportunity, support economic vitality and enhance quality of life throughout our region.

Facts & Figures

  • Bus Service

    VIA buses operate seven days a week from 4 a.m. to 1 a.m. There are 7,193 bus stops along 90 bus lines, which are divided into five service categories: frequent, metro, express, skip, and downtown circulator.

    VIA provides the following services in our community

    Three times a year service revisions are made to adjust for changes in ridership demand patterns and cost-effectiveness. The revisions are promoted to the public through bus flyers, farebox cards, news releases, and updated pocket schedules.

    VIA is governed by a Board of Trustees

  • Service Area

    In total, VIA’s service area is 1,226.07 square miles, which is 98 percent of Bexar County. The service area is made up of the unincorporated parts of Bexar County and the following municipalities:

    • Alamo Heights

    • Balcones Heights

    • Castle Hills

    • China Grove

    • Converse

    • Elmendorf

    • Kirby

    • Leon Valley

    • Olmos Park

    • San Antonio

    • Shavano Park

    • Sandy Oaks

    • St. Hedwig

    • Terrell Hills

    Also included in VIA’s service area is the Bexar County portion of Cibolo. The Advanced Transportation District operates within the City of San Antonio.

    Printable System Map

  • Fiscal Management

    The approved operating budget for fiscal year 2018 is $228.6 million. The metropolitan transit authority portion of the budget is $190 million, and the Advanced Transportation District portion is $38.6 million.

    Revenue for VIA is generated from the half-cent transit sales tax in VIA’s service area, the 1/8-cent sales tax under the Advanced Transportation District, farebox revenues, bus advertising, and grant money from the Federal Transit Administration. VIA’s fiscal year begins October 1 and runs through the last day of September.

  • Business Plan

    VIA’s Business Plan is a formal plan of action for a specified time period that is reflected in the following document’s text and monetary figures.

    VIA’s budget document is divided into seven sections: Introduction, Budget Overview, Financial Overview, Operating Detail by Division, Five-Year Financial Plan, Capital Budget, and Appendices. Each section contains information related to the budget process and/or the budget approved by the VIA Board of Trustees.

  • Ridership

    VIA measures ridership based on numbers of boardings, also known as unlinked passenger trips. All of VIA’s services carried 39.6 million passenger trips during fiscal year 2016.

    Type of Service Total Ridership Weekday Average
    Scheduled Line 38,334,650 119,675
    VIAtrans 1,174,104 N/A

  • Fleet

    VIA’s active fleet consists of 474 buses, comprising diesel buses, compressed natural gas (CNG) buses, diesel-electric hybrid buses, electric buses, and propane replica trolleys.

    In 2017 VIA began a conversion of its entire fleet to CNG Buses. Half of the fleet is expected to replaced with the lower-emission vehicles by the end of 2017, with the entire fleet converted by 2020.

    The 40-foot vehicles and the 60-foot Prímo articulated vehicles have a low-floor design and a retractable ramp for wheelchair access.

    The active VIAtrans fleet consists of 144 (model year 2013) paratransit vehicles, all of which are equipped with wheelchair lifts. Each vehicle has the capacity to carry 6 ambulatory and 2 wheelchair patrons or 4 ambulatory and 3 wheelchair patrons.

    All of VIA’s service vehicles are equipped with an automated vehicle location and secure voice communication system, allowing VIA to provide the best service possible by making adjustments for delays, overloading, or unforeseen occurrences.

  • Culture

    Our corporate culture influences the way we interact with one another and how we interact with the community we serve. The model for VIA’s corporate culture evolves from the philosophy, values, and behavior that, together, shape the unique approach, practices and output of VIA as a company. To fulfill the commitment we have to the community we serve, it is the duty of each employee to observe the guiding principles that will nurture and sustain a corporate culture that will propel VIA forward.

    • Ownership: be proactive, identify problems and solutions, act toward the goal in mind, be accountable- practice “The Buck Stops Here”
    • Customer Focused: identify and act on our customers’ needs, recognize that we all support the groups that provide the service, provide outstanding customer service, listen and understand each other’s needs
    • Collaborative: strengthen and maintain communication, look to team with others to help with our problems and theirs, be open and responsive, share information that will be helpful
    • Creative Value: encourage new ideas and solutions, scrutinize how we do things to evaluate areas for improvement, be adaptable and responsive to changing conditions
    • Constant Learning: learn from our mistakes and the experience of others, be open to different ideas and opinions, encourage and seek ways for self-development, seek opportunities for learning

  • Transit Police

    VIA Transit Police is dedicated to serving the traveling public by working with our community, customers, and law enforcement partners to create a safe environment throughout VIA’s service area. VIA Transit Police officers maintain a presence at VIA facilities, offices, transit centers, shelters and stops, and the routes where VIA operates. Officers conduct pro-active checks of buses, transit facilities, bus routes, and respond to calls for security as needed.

    VIA’s Bicycle Patrol travels the Downtown San Antonio area to monitor activity at and around bus stops and shelters. A Problem Oriented Policing team monitors areas outside of Downtown, in which there may be security concerns at bus stops and shelters.

    VIA participates in the “See Something, Say Something” safety awareness campaign, designed to encourage agency employees and members of the public to be aware of their surroundings and to report suspicious activity to proper law enforcement personnel. Partnering with VIA in this campaign are the emergency management offices of San Antonio and Bexar County and the members of City Year of San Antonio.

  • Environmental Commitment

    VIA’s ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship includes initiatives to reduce air pollution, waste and energy demands.

    Vehicle Emissions Reduction

    VIA’s primary sustainability efforts focus on the reduction of vehicle emissions. VIA’s maintenance personnel have performed retrofits of older buses to install reduced emissions engines, and idle limit controls are employed along with dry-break refueling. In 2017, VIA began to replace the agency’s fleet of clean-diesel-powered buses with vehicles that are fueled by Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). VIA has diversified its fleet further by integrating new, alternative power sources such as propane, electricity, and hybrid technology. VIA continues to monitor fuel and propulsion technologies that help reduce local air pollution.

    Recycling Efforts

    VIA employs rigorous recycling efforts, focusing on waste oil and lubricants, batteries, paint solvents, office paper, cardboard, scrap metals, refrigerant, and plastics.

    Conservation

    Conservation is a high priority. VIA has retrofitted its facilities with energy efficient lighting, installed upgrades to the HVAC systems and windows, and reduced the energy requirements for the climate control system of the maintenance garage.

    Environmental & Sustainability Management System (ESMS)

    VIA has implemented an Environmental and Sustainability Management System (ESMS) using the International Standards Organization (ISO) 14001:2004 standard as a guideline. The ESMS and its rigorous standards demonstrate the commitment that VIA has in working to mitigate environmental impacts on our community and our shared environment.

    In 2016, VIA earned certification from the ISO for the agency’s proactive efforts to provide sustainable service through its ESMS. VIA was the first agency in the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Region 6, a five-state region, to earn the ISO 14001 certification.
    To commemorate the achievement, green-and-white flags were placed at VIA locations that are certified by the ISO, which sets worldwide standards and has published more than 20,500 international standards covering almost every industry. The flags fly at VIA’s Maintenance facility, 1720 N. Flores St., Administration Building, 800 W. Myrtle St., and the VIA Metro Center, 1021 San Pedro Ave.

    Renewable Energy

    VIA explores the use of renewable energy where feasible. The agency draws 100 percent of its electricity from CPS Energy’s Windtricity program. Solar panels will power the lighting at new bus shelters, and solar-panel systems have been installed to reduce power needs at five transit facilities, nearly 700 bus shelters, and the recently completed Centro Plaza at VIA Villa.

    Water

    VIA works to reduce water pollution through the use of an on-site industrial wastewater treatment facility and the installation of stormwater interceptors to prevent contaminated bus yard runoff from reaching the local watershed. Water use is also conserved through the use of native, drought-tolerant landscaping at all properties and recycled water for bus washing.

  • Employment

    VIA is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer. VIA supports equal opportunities for all without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, disability, sex, or age. Last updated FY16.

    Total VIA Workforce 2,108
    Full-time Employees 1,879
    Bus and Van Operators 1,226
    Vehicle Maintenance Employees 267
    Facilities Maintenance Employees 101

Background

History

  • Brief 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.

  • 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 aboard buses that 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. VIA mascots, the Buppets, including Buster the Bus, are introduced and begin appearing at area schools and community events as part of VIA’s educational and community outreach initiatives.
    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 River Walk 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 River Walk 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 & Ride facility 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 & Ride facility.
    2004 The 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 percent.
    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 website. VIA's website wins the AdWheel award from the American Public Transportation 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-fueled (CNG) buses and diesel-electric hybrid buses are introduced. Free, 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 Prímo bus rapid transit service begins.
    2013 VIA’s first all-electric, battery-powered buses enter service. VIA Prímo service is extended into Leon Valley.
    2015 VIA becomes the first major transit agency in the nation to offer free, system-wide 4G LTE WiFi. VIA opens Centro Plaza at VIA Villa, a state-of-the-art transit hub, just west of Downtown San Antonio.
    2016 VIA is recognized as the 2016 Outstanding Metropolitan Transit System by the Texas Transit Association for its efforts to enhance the region’s public transportation system. VIA launches new VIVA service line with three distinct routes connecting cultural, historic, and entertainment corridors in the city center. VIA introduces its first new mascots in 35 years, adding Prímo and Safety Sofie as Buster’s partners.

Background

Awards & Achievements

  • 2016
    Award Awarded By Awarded For
    Secretary Ray LaHood Award WTS International Presented to President/CEO Jeffrey C. Arndt for contributions to the advancement of women and minorities in transportation
    Outstanding Metropolitan Transit Agency for 2015 Texas Transit Association Being the best transit system in Texas
    Air Quality Stewardship Award Alamo Area Council of Governments
    Preservation Texas
    Centro Plaza at VIA Villa
    Honor Award Preservation Texas Rehabilitation of the Ellis Alley enclave
    First Place Spotlight Award and Public Transportation Marketing Excellence Award South West Transit Association (SWTA) “Viva VIVA” campaign

  • 2015
    Award Awarded By Awarded For
    AdWheel Award, Special Event American Public Transportation Association Promotion of the 20th Youth Art Contest
    Top User of Propane Autogas METRO Magazine and the Propane Education and Research Council Use of propane in trolleys and vans
    Downtown’s BEST, Best of Greater Downtown Centro San Antonio Development of VIA Villa
    Hit the Spot Award, Electronic Media South West Transit Association Best TV commercial – "Text the Safe Way … Ride VIA!"
    Best of the Eastside Business Award, Best Transformation San Antonio for Growth on the Eastside Restoration of structures in the Ellis Alley enclave
    Air Quality Stewardship Award Alamo Area Council of Governments Working with the cities of New Braunfels, Schertz, Cibolo, Garden Ridge, and McQueeney to continue demand-response service in areas newly urbanized

  • 2014
    Award Awarded By Awarded For
    AdWheel Award, Electronic Media American Public Transportation Association Best video presentation for a system with over 20 million annual trips – "VIA Community Video"
    Hit the Spot Award, Electronic Media South West Transit Association Best promotional video – “VIA Semester Pass Video”
    Corporate Award Texas Diversity Council VIA’s support of diversity and inclusion in the workplace and community
    Excellence through Diversity Award Hispanic Contractors Association Diversity measures during the construction of the South Texas Medical Center Transit Center
    Business Opportunity Diversity Award, Public Sector San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Utilization of most locally-owned businesses
    40+ Years of Safe Driving American Public Transportation Association Presented to bus operators Manuel Valdez and Jesse Quintero to draw attention to 100 years of APTA safety awards
    First Place, International Roadeo American Public Transportation Association Maintenance Team of Carlos Fuentes, Don Smasal, and Victor Hernandez
    First Place, Texas State Roadeo Texas Transit Association 40-foot bus – Rogelio Dominguez
    First Place, Texas State Roadeo Texas Transit Association Paratransit van – Robert Colunga
    Champion of Diversity Texas Diversity Council Presented to President/CEO Jeffrey C. Arndt for efforts and commitment to diversity and inclusion

  • 2013
    Award Awarded By Awarded For
    First Place, Texas State Roadeo, 4th straight Texas Transit Association Maintenance Team of Phil Davis, Carlos Fuentes, and Ernesto Ovalle
    Transportation Achievement in Operations Institute of Transportation Engineers The implementation of VIA Primo and the transit signal priority system
    Hit the Spot Award, Social Media South West Transit Association Best new transit marketing project – “Go via VIA” mobile application
    AdWheel Award, Electronic Media American Public Transportation Association Best television advertisement for a system with over 20 million annual trips – VIA Primo “Oh Yeah” TV spot

  • 2012
    Award Awarded By Awarded For
    Great Texas Trailhead Texas Trails Network The development of the Ingram Transit Center Trailhead
    Natural Gas Vehicle Trendsetter Alamo Natural Gas Vehicle Consortium Recent efforts to acquire revenue vehicles powered by compressed natural gas
    First Place, Texas State Roadeo, 3rd straight Texas Transit Association Maintenance Team of Phil Davis, Marcel Longmire, and Hugo Villarreal
    First Place, International Roadeo, 2nd straight American Public Transportation Association Maintenance Team of Phil Davis, Marcel Longmire, and Hugo Villarreal
    Outstanding Metropolitan Transit Agency for 2011 Texas Transit Association Being the best transit system in Texas
    Outstanding General Manager for 2011 Texas Transit Association Presented to Keith T. Parker for being the best transit manager in Texas
    Gold Award for Safety Excellence American Public Transportation Association Best overall bus safety program in the United States and Canada
    Innovative Transportation Solutions Award Women in Transportation – San Antonio Region he implementation of VIA Primo

  • 2011
    Award Awarded By Awarded For
    Outstanding Metropolitan Transit Agency for 2010 Texas Transit Association Being the best transit system in Texas
    Champion of Diversity Texas Diversity Council Presented to Keith T. Parker for efforts and commitment to diversity and inclusion
    First Place, Texas State Roadeo, 2nd straight Texas Transit Association Maintenance Team of Phil Davis, Hugo Villarreal, and Mario Rodriguez
    First Place, International Roadeo American Public Transportation Association Maintenance Team of Phil Davis, Marcel Longmire, and Hugo Villarreal
    Corporate Citizen of the Year Alamo Area Council of Governments (for efforts to reduce the agency’s impact on the environment) Efforts to reduce the agency’s impact on the environment)

  • 2010
    Award Awarded By Awarded For
    First Place, Texas State Roadeo Texas Transit Association Maintenance Team of Phil Davis, Marcel Longmire, and Hugo Villarreal
    Second Place, International Roadeo American Public Transportation Association Maintenance Team of Phil Davis, Marcel Longmire, and Hugo Villarreal
    Going Green Award San Antonio Business Journal Efforts to reduce the agency’s impact on the environment

  • 2009
    Award Awarded By Awarded For
    Environmental Excellence San Antonio Water System, Resource Protection and Compliance Department Recycling efforts, stormwater drains, use of solar and wind power, energy conservation, and water recycling