Smart Use of Alternative Fuels
VIA recognizes its role as a steward of the environment and is committed to the reduction of vehicle emissions in the region.
The use of alternative fuels solidifies the company’s commitment to reducing pollution by meeting or exceeding the latest standards from the Environmental Protection Agency. With some recent actions, VIA has moved into new territory with innovative revenue vehicles that run on alternative power sources.
A CNG-powered Fleet
In 2016, VIA began its multi-year plan to purchase clean-energy vehicles, fueled by compressed natural gas (CNG) to replace aging buses in its fleet. The vehicles scheduled for replacement are at least 15 years old. The agency’s fleet expansion will reduce operating costs and allow the agency to carry out planned service enhancements.
VIA introduced the first of its buses to run on CNG in 2010 with funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, or ARRA. In 2017, VIA announced the sale of $82 million in MTA Contractual Obligation Bonds to help finance the purchase of 270 CNG-fueled buses as part of the agency’s SmartMove five-year capital plan. VIA plans to complete the CNG fleet conversion by 2020.
VIA Debuts First Wave of CNG Buses
Powered by Windtricity
VIA’s agreement with CPS Energy made it the first public agency in San Antonio to receive 100 percent of its power from Windtricity, removing approximately 7,180 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Electric and Hybrid Vehicles
In 2013, VIA introduced the Arc, all-electric buses for regular service in the Downtown area.
Arc service was made possible by a grant from the Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction program as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. This funding was made available to encourage the use of cutting-edge environmental technologies, and a total of $100 million was awarded in a nationwide competition. VIA is one of just 43 transit agencies from across the nation that received this funding, and it is also the only transit agency in Texas that was awarded in this process.
VIA also acquired 30 new diesel-electric hybrid buses built by New Flyer. These buses are in service along VIA’s express routes to help daily commuters reduce the city’s overall fuel consumption while cutting back on emissions. The hybrid buses are equipped with extra amenities such as reclining seats, overhead storage, and individual lighting.
Environmental and Sustainability Management System
VIA is committed to becoming an environmental leader in the industry and pledges to provide necessary education and tools to all persons working for or on behalf of VIA to successfully carry out this program. VIA promotes implementation of goals and programs that will continually reduce our environmental impact on the community and environment.
In January 2016, VIA Metropolitan Transit’s Environmental and Sustainability Management System (ESMS) earned an ISO 14001:2004 certification from the International Standards Organization (ISO) for its proactive sustainable efforts controlled through its ESMS.
VIA Metropolitan Transit’s ESMS provides a strategic and systematic approach to the management of environmental impacts. Implementation of an ESMS maximizes organizational benefit through risk mitigation, prevention of pollution, and regulatory compliance, and will help VIA to provide the community with safe, reliable and sustainable transportation. Each of VIA’s employees is entrusted with incorporating the actions necessary in their work to fulfill this commitment.
By Enacting this ESMS, VIA commits to:
- Implementation and continual improvement of environmental management practices and solutions
- Prevention of pollution and utilization of environmentally safe methods of disposal and recycling to maintain a safe and clean environment
- Compliance with applicable legal and other requirements to which VIA subscribes which relate to its environmental aspects
- Minimization of significant environmental impacts by establishing environmental objectives and targets
- Evaluation of environmental performance and progress through periodic review of the ESMS and related objectives and targets
- Integration of sustainable practices during planning and decision making processes and in all other work conducted at VIA