December 4 will be a fare-free service day

Rosa Parks rode on a VIA bus in 1987 for the Martin Luther King, Jr. March in San Antonio. Ken Davison had been an operator less than a year when he drove the bus. Today, Davison is VIA’s Manager of Bus Service Transportation.

VIA Metropolitan Transit will offer fare-free service on Friday, December 4, in observance of “Rosa Parks Day,” honoring the Civil Rights icon and the role of public transportation in the modern Civil Rights movement.

VIA joins transit agencies and cities nationwide in designating a day of remembrance for Parks, who on December 1, 1955, was arrested when she refused to give up her bus seat to make room for a white passenger. Her plight inspired civil rights leaders, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., to organize a bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, which lasted several months and was successful in efforts to desegregate U.S. public transportation.

The VIA Board of Trustees approved a resolution in 2019 to observe and commemorate her contribution and the role of transit in the American Civil Rights movement each December by offering a day of complimentary fares for bus and VIAtrans customers. This year, customers can ride fare free on Friday, December 4. VIA buses and vans will also keep their headlights on throughout the day to honor Parks’ memory. VIAtrans customers must book their trips in advance, per usual. All COVID-19 health and safety precautions will remain in place, including safe capacity limits, masks required for employees and non-exempt passengers, social distancing, and others.

“VIA celebrates diversity and inclusion every day and we honor Rosa Parks’ bravery and legacy, which makes that possible,” VIA President and CEO Jeffrey C. Arndt said. “The work she began 65 years ago continues and we are proud to help raise awareness about the role of public transit in ensuring equitable access to opportunity, while remembering those who helped pave the road to progress.”

Over 80% of VIA riders are people of color, including 60% Hispanic/Latino and over 20% Black/African American. Since 2005, VIA has displayed a special seat dedicated to the legacy of Rosa Parks in each of our vehicles. Today, over 500 VIA buses have a Rosa Parks seat.