Vehicles and staff deployed as hundreds flee Laura’s path

VIA is joining local emergency coordination and relief efforts to help people seeking shelter and relief in San Antonio. Hundreds of coastal area residents are fleeing Hurricane Laura, a Category 4 storm expected to make landfall in the Galveston area Thursday.

In coordination with the City of San Antonio’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC), VIA is helping move people safely from area hotels and shelters to a reception center on the city’s East Side, where they can collect essential information, documentation, and plan for their stay in the Alamo City.

It’s a familiar role for VIA and its team members who are key to ensuring people displaced by disasters in and around Texas can access goods and services safely and compassionately, while in San Antonio. VIA and its staff have long been part of regional and statewide relief efforts to help transport people, deliver critical resources, restore infrastructure, and more.

As of Wednesday afternoon, VIA had deployed over 20 buses and vans and dozens of team members to shelter locations and is expecting to transport over 500 people to and from the city’s reception center near Freeman Coliseum. All VIA vehicles are fully accessible for persons traveling with a disability.

• VIA is maintaining extensive safety protocols designed to help protect employees and passengers from the spread of COVID-19.

• VIA buses and vans are being cleaned before and after each trip.

• Operators and staff are provided sanitizing supplies, face coverings and gloves, and are required to wear them at all times.

• They must keep protective plastic shields drawn on their driver cabins while carrying passengers.

• Safe capacity limits remain in place, with 16-passenger maximum loads on all buses.

• All passengers and emergency staff are required to wear a face covering and practice social distancing while boarding and riding a VIA bus or van. The City is providing masks and sanitizing equipment for evacuees and local emergency staff.

Emergency Operations staff is also performing screenings and temperature checks for persons being evacuated by Charter bus.

VIA will continue to be part of local relief teams and provide complimentary transportation to persons needing to travel to area stores, health and human service centers, and other relief centers.