More service, passenger amenities planned for better customer experience

VIA Metropolitan Transit will increase service without increasing fares for its FY20 Operating Budget, adopted Tuesday, Sept. 24, by unanimous vote of the VIA Board of Trustees. The new budget also eliminates its 15-cent fee for bus transfers, effectively lowering the cost of riding VIA for many customers.

The $249.4 million budget supports a robust program of strategic investments to improve the customer experience while maintaining fares at current levels, adding nearly 3 percent more line service, a second pilot of VIA Link on-demand service, and introducing new goCard fare technology. VIA’s new fiscal year begins Oct. 1, 2019. Transfer fees will be eliminated beginning November 2019.

“The new budget supports our plan to reimagine mobility in the region and deliver a more modern system that makes it easier to choose and use transit,” VIA President/CEO Jeffrey C. Arndt said. “We are introducing more frequent bus service without increasing fares, new technologies for easier access, and continuing to develop our VIA Reimagined Plan to support a community that’s connected to opportunity and an enhanced quality of life.”

In addition to the overall increase in line service, fiscal year 2020 will also see the official launch of VIA’s goCard program and the addition of 60 bus shelters in the service area. To continue its commitment to sustainability, VIA will add 30 compressed natural gas buses as part of its ongoing fleet conversion, 62 new paratransit vans, and eight new electric vehicles. VIA will also equip 50 new shelters with solar lighting, among other green initiatives.

New and enhanced customer facilities, including the agency’s first “mobility hub” at Naco Pass for transfers between VIA Link and fixed-route service, will provide a more comfortable experience with covered stops, real-time arrival information, and lighting. Additional capital improvements will include a substantial refurbishment at Randolph Park & Ride and the kick-off of a process to deliver commuter service to Alamo Ranch.