New budget includes service increases with new routes and smart transit options
VIA Metropolitan Transit will increase service by nearly 5 percent with its FY19 Operating Budget adopted Tuesday. VIA’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved the $238.9 million budget that maintains fares at current levels and improves the customer experience with increased service frequency, a new transit center, two new Prímo routes, and smart transit initiatives that make riding easier. VIA’s new fiscal year begins Oct. 1, 2018.
“We are entering the new fiscal year with a clear vision and plan to provide reliable and efficient transportation options that meet our community’s mobility needs today, while we work to keep our growing region moving in the future,” VIA President/CEO Jeffrey C. Arndt said. “While VIA continues to seek new resources to truly modernize our transportation system, the FY19 Operating Budget shows our commitment to maximize existing resources through strong partnerships and innovation. It provides for increased service frequencies, new facilities, and new technology—without increasing fares—and allows us to advance our Vision 2040 plan for a community connected to opportunity and an enhanced quality of life.”
The FY19 budget includes expanded high-frequency, high-capacity Prímo service along Zarzamora Street and Military Road. The new Primo routes will connect Madla Transit Center with Crossroads Park & Ride, and Kel-Lac Transit Center with Brooks Transit Center, which is scheduled for completion in spring 2019.
VIA will introduce improved frequency for routes along South Flores Street, Culebra, Bandera, and Pleasanton roads, in January as part of its partnership and funding plan with the City of San Antonio. The City approved $10 million from its General Revenue Fund in FY19 to help provide better bus service in the region. The plan is complemented by funding previously provided by Bexar County that is helping fund the new Prímo routes, Brooks Transit Center, and bus fleet expansion.
VIA’s focus on improving the customer experience includes continued investment in innovation. Smart transit offerings in FY19 include the new VIA goCard, a reloadable smart card that debuts next year as the latest in VIA’s fare technology upgrades to support a modern public transportation system, and new customer kiosks that are part of a citywide system of interactive digital posts to assist with wayfinding and trip planning. Seven kiosks will be installed at transit center locations as part of VIA’s innovation partnership with the City.
Other FY19 projects include enhanced passenger amenities such as solar lighting systems for 250 NextGen shelters. VIA will also introduce a pilot Mobility on Demand (MOD) service designed for more efficient and cost-effective service in low-density areas.