Community

Programs

VIA is committed to promoting positive relations and outreach in the community. A number of programs are offered to engage the community in public transportation and create partnerships with those we serve.

  • CLASS PASS PROGRAM

    The Class Pass program works with local school teachers to help them arrange student field trips using VIA’s mainline bus service.

    Would you like to take your students on more field trips? Ride VIA!

    Let VIA help plan the transportation for your next field trip. Students and teachers can xplore San Antonio and Bexar County’s history, culture, and entertainment venues, while they learn about the benefits of public transportation.

    Take VIA on your next field trip for the educational adventure, cost savings, and convenience. Please note, this is not a charter service.

    For more information, email VIA.

  • BIBLIOTECH DIGITAL LIBRARY

    Ride and Read Orange BusBiblioTech and VIA Metropolitan Transit have partnered to bring Bexar County’s all-digital public library to the traveling public with the new “Ride & Read” program.

    This new partnership brings VIA on board with BiblioTech’s mission to enhance education and literacy, promote reading as recreation, and equip residents with necessary tools to thrive in our modern landscape.

    Kiosks and ADA-accessible wall-mounted screens will be installed at VIA transit and information centers throughout the service area.

     

    VIA Bibliotech Kiosk Locations

    The new BiblioTech freestanding kiosk and ADA-compliant wall-mounted screen are available at the following locations:

    • Downtown Information Center

    • Centro Plaza

    • Ellis Alley Transit Center

    • Medical Center Transit Center

    • Crossroads Park & Ride

    • North Star Transit Center

    About Bibliotech

    BiblioTech Digital Library is the first all-digital public library in the United States, located in Bexar County, Texas.

    Since the doors of the first branch opened on September 14th, 2013, BiblioTech has actively worked to bridge literacy and technology gaps in San Antonio and surrounding areas by establishing a community presence at the physical locations as well as an online presence through the digital collections and resources.

    Sign Up is Free and Easy!

    Step 1
    Visit a kiosk, download the mobile app or go to the BiblioTech website.
    number 2Step 2
    Register for a free digital library card.
    number 3Step 3
    Log in to your account.
    number 4Step 4
    Begin selecting and reading your favorite titles.

    VIA riders can use the kiosks to register as BiblioTech patrons, then browse and download books from a collection of more than 40,000 e-book titles. Once a rider’s selections are downloaded to a mobile device such as a smartphone, tablet or laptop, the e-books remain available for two weeks before the titles are electronically returned. All registered BiblioTech patrons can use VIA’s free 4G LTE WiFi, available on all buses and at all transit centers, to access BiblioTech’s apps, and browse and download books, movies, music and periodicals.

    Membership to the library is free to all Bexar County residents.
    Access to the digital collection is available 24/7.

  • VIA MOVES ME: RIDER STORIES

    VIA provides more than 42 million passenger trips each year, connecting our community with the places where we live, work, play, and learn. Our customers and their experiences are as unique and diverse as the region we serve, with one thing in common—riding VIA.

    VIA is reaching out to our customers and asking them to tell their one-of-a-kind stories, and share all the ways that VIA moves them. We will post those stories here and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, using #VIAmovesme.

    Take a moment to get to know your fellow VIA passengers. Learn about VIA’s programs and services and how public transportation helps keep our community moving forward, together.

    VIA’s VIVA missions Route Provides Access to History.

    This is Roberto Cantu’s story

    VIA Provides Access to Opportunity.

    This is the Bethany East PR story

    VIA’s Semester Pass Provides Access to Education.

    This is Evangeline’s story

  • RIDE AND EARN

    Ride the bus. Earn Rewards. Wouldn’t you like to get rewarded for riding the bus instead of adding to the traffic congestion and pollution by driving alone? NuRide.com is the nation’s largest commuter rewards program. NuRide incorporates a unique reward points system to motivate people to share rides, bike, walk or take the bus.

    Reward points can be redeemed for incentives provided by local and national companies. VIA riders know the benefits of leaving your car at home. Now get rewarded for it.

    Earning Rewards is Simple


    Step 1
    Sign up at www.nuride.com.

    Step 2
    Ride the bus, vanpool, carpool, bike or walk, and simply record your trips into the system to earn points.

    Step 3
    Redeem your accumulated points for rewards.

    In the Greater San Antonio Region, Nuride is sponsored by the Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG). For more information, visit AACOG’s Commute Solutions webpage.

  • YOUTH ART CONTEST

    VIA’s annual Youth Art Contest generates thousands of entries each year, and encourages local artists in grades pre-K through 12 to illustrate various transit-related themes. The contest kicks off the first Monday of March and is open to school children in the VIA service area.

    Each year, VIA provides a transit-related theme for entries. First- and second-place winners are chosen for each grade level from among thousands of entries received each year. A Best of Show winner also is chosen. The winning artwork will be displayed at various locations, and the Best of Show artwork will be featured on the exterior of two VIA buses, courtesy of Clear Channel Outdoor.

    Artists for the selected entries are honored at an awards luncheon hosted by VIA. Contestants compete for cash prizes and the chance to have their work displayed on a VIA bus. Best of Show designs also may appear on youth education program materials and at VIA properties. All entries are put on display throughout VIA’s bus fleet for a period of one month.

    How to Enter:

      • The 2017 Youth Art Contest opened Tuesday, March 7, 2017.

      • All students in area schools and youth-based organizations are invited to participate.

      • The 2017 theme is: “EXPLORE … Plan your next adventure on VIA.” Contestants are asked to take inspiration from the region’s rich culture and heritage, highlight area landmarks and points of interest, and feature public transportation scenes in their entries.

      • Students can illustrate the theme using any medium on an official poster board (11” high x 17” wide). The poster boards are free and can be picked up from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday, beginning Tuesday, March 7, at VIA’s Administration Building, 800 W. Myrtle St., or the VIA Metro Center, 1021 San Pedro Ave.

      • Submissions may be dropped off or mailed to VIA’s Administration Building, 800 W. Myrtle, attention: Jerri Ann Jones.

      • Entries will be accepted through 5 p.m., on Friday, April 14, 2017.

    For more information on this annual art contest, contact VIA.

  • POETRY ON THE MOVE

    VIA Metropolitan Transit holds its annual Poetry on the Move contest each fall. Winning entries are printed on interior cards and distributed throughout VIA’s fleet.

    The contest is open to poets from South and Central Texas who are at least 18 years of age. One to three poems may be submitted, and each poem should be no longer than 10 lines, including title and spaces. Poetry submissions are accepted once the contest is officially announced.

    To get the youth involved, an additional ten poems are selected from the San Antonio Public Library’s “Young Pegasus Program.” These poems are also displayed on our fleet in April.

    The winning poems are placed on our buses and vans for passengers to enjoy during April, which is National Poetry Month. The contest is held early to allow time to coordinate with local teen youth art programs to create illustrations for the poems.

    The winning poets are recognized at a VIA Event, and are invited to perform a reading at a local book store.

    For more information about the annual poetry contest, contact VIA or download the 8th Annual Poetry on the Move Contest flyer. You can view winning poems from each year.

  • NATIONAL ARTS PROGRAM

    The National Arts Program works with VIA to organize an annual VIA Employee Art Contest and Exhibit. This exhibit showcases the artistic talents of VIA’s employees and their family members. The artwork is displayed in a local art gallery for one month before being put on display at VIA headquarters.

  • UNITED WAY

    VIA employees participate in the annual United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County Community Campaign drive.

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Request Presentation or tour

VIA offers facility tours and educational presentations upon request. Learn more about the options below and submit a request through the online form.

  • FACILITY TOURS

    Request a VIA facility tour for your school group or youth organization. Tour include a walk-through of VIA’s maintenance garage and a bus ride around a VIA property. Tours teach children about the maintenance and operation of VIA’s bus fleet, and how our team works to keep them on the road, every day. Tours are free and can be scheduled by request.

    What to expect on a tour:

    • The tour will be approximately one hour long.

    • Minimum age requirement for participants in the tour is 5 years.

    • There is a maximum of 20 students per group.

    • Special give-a-ways will be presented to participants.

    • Groups are responsible for arranging transportation to VIA’s facility.

    • At least two weeks notice is requested for facility tours.

    • The group will walk with a guide through the VIA Metro Center.

    • The group will board a VIA bus for a ride around the property and possibly a ride through the bus wash.

    • Tours can be adjusted to meet your group’s needs or interests.

    For more information, or to schedule a facility tour, fill out the form below.

  • VIA eXplore Learning Lab

    The VIA eXplore Learning Lab is designed to engage the next generation of VIA riders with interesting, easy-to-follow information and activities for the bus and the classroom. VIA eXplore brings the ride to you with a reverse field trip experience that helps educate students about the benefits of public transportation, and how to use VIA’s programs and services safely. The program, an educational resource provided courtesy of VIA, offers valuable information about safe travel practices, efficient trip planning, and access to opportunity as a VIA rider. The VIA eXplore experience incorporates age-appropriate digital and tactical elements to engage students at various skill levels.

    VIA’s educational outreach initiative has been active in the community since 1996, when it debuted its original “Classroom on Wheels” program that connected with over 40,000 students each year.

    VIA eXplore is the next chapter in VIA’s ongoing effort to provide educational resources for area students, maintain our commitment to sharing safe travel practices with our community, and serve as examples of environmental stewardship.

    This is what to expect when your school or group visits the VIA eXplore bus:

    • A customized bus will travel to your campus or event location, featuring the VIA eXplore theme and curriculum.

    • The VIA eXplore Learning Lab is a Compressed Natural Gas- fueled (CNG) bus equipped with standard passenger amenities, including safety features, fare collection equipment, and trip-planning tools.

    • The VIA eXplore Learning Lab is ADA compliant.

    • It is equipped with VIA’s free 4G LTE WiFi, digital screens, and special on-board messaging for students.

    • The eXplore presentation takes approximately 30 minutes, and includes a video screening, that features safe travel tips, information about using technology while traveling with VIA, and points of interest throughout VIA’s service area.

    • VIA eXplore utilizes smart tablets and internet-based exercises for a hands-on trip-planning demonstration as part of students’ experience aboard the bus.

    • A maximum of 35 participants, including teachers, is allowed per 30-minute session.

    • Back-to-back presentations can be made to accommodate larger number of students or participants.

    Requirements for a VIA eXplore session:

    • A minimum of three 30-minute sessions at any campus or location are required to book the VIA eXplore Learning Lab.

    • The VIA eXplore Learning Lab is available for reservations Monday through Friday, year round. The VIA eXplore Learning Lab is not available on Federal or State holidays.

    • Requests for scheduling must be received at least two weeks prior to the event and is subject to availability. Requests can be made up to one year in advance.

    • VIA eXplore is currently designed for K-5 students. Requests outside of this intended audience will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

    • All requests for the VIA eXplore Learning Lab will be reviewed by VIA staff and requesting parties may be contacted for more information or to confirm the reservation.

    How to schedule a visit with the VIA eXplore Learning Lab:

    To request a VIA eXplore Learning Lab visit to your school or event, please use our online contact form below. Please include the details of your requests in the comment section, and a contact phone number.

  • VIA MASCOTS

    The VIA Metropolitan Transit family is growing! VIA introduced two new mascots on December 10, 2016, in a community-wide celebration at Centro Plaza. “Prímo” and “Safety Sofie” join “Buster the Bus” in representing the region’s public transportation provider at schools, community events, and celebrations. After taking a short break in 2016, Buster is back on the job, with help from his cousin Prímo and their friend Safety Sofie.

    “VIA mascots are a beloved tradition and an important part of our continued efforts to champion public transportation in our growing region,” VIA CEO/President Jeffrey C. Arndt said.

    VIA mascots are available for public appearances, including school visits, community events, and special functions to share information about riding VIA and build awareness of public transportation programs and services.

    Meet Buster, Prímo and Safety Sofie

    Buster

    Buster, VIA’s premier mascot, debuted in 1981 and became a beloved symbol in San Antonio and Bexar County, visiting with thousands throughout his decades of service to promote the benefits and ease of using public transportation.

    Prímo

    Prímo represents VIA’s expanding fleet of Bus Rapid Transit vehicles and an important development for the future of public transportation in the region.

    Safety Sofie

    Safety Sofie is a champion for traveling safely. She reminds everyone to stop, look, and listen when walking, driving or riding. She uses her super safety powers to help us make roadways and walkways safer for everyone.

    Appearance Request Guidelines

    • All requests must be received at least two (2) weeks prior to the event. Requests can be submitted through our online form.

    • Appearances are generally not scheduled earlier than two (2) weeks prior to your event date to ensure mascot availability.

    • Please indicate which mascot you are requesting. Mascot appearances do not exceed 30 minutes maximum at any one event.

    • Mascot appearances are limited to events taking place within the VIA service area only.

    • Mascots are accompanied by a Buddy to assist and guide them.

    • Mascots cannot march or walk in parades due to costume design constraints.

    • Mascots do not speak during live appearances.

    • VIA reserves the right to cancel an appearance at any time due to schedule changes, illness, emergencies, inclement weather, etc.

    Requirements

    • Event coordinator is asked to provide a reserved parking space for a Mascot Van.

    • Event coordinator is asked to provide a changing room for mascot. Restrooms are not acceptable.

    Confirmation

    • Final confirmation is achieved only after VIA’s Mascot Coordinator contacts you by phone or email to discuss the event in more detail and finalize the appearance.

    • Due to the number of requests for mascot appearances, VIA cannot guarantee the appearance time requested. Our goal is to assist as many schools, organizations, and requestors as possible.

  • EVENT REQUEST

    VIA Representatives are available to attend an upcoming meeting of your neighborhood association, community organization, civic group, or the like to talk about VIA bus routes in the area, VIA’s projects and programs, and our future service plans. Please submit a request through the online form below with details of your event.

Use the online form below to schedule a facility tour, request the VIA eXplore Learning Lab to visit your school or group, schedule one of VIA’s mascots to make an appearance at your community event or to request a speaker.* For customer service needs, please visit our Contact page.

Community

*Please allow at least 30-days' notice to schedule a speaker. Speaking engagements are subject to availability.

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