Passenger limits will be lifted after more than a year of restrictions
All VIA Metropolitan Transit buses and vans will return to full capacity beginning Tuesday, June 1. VIA is lifting the passenger limits instituted in April 2020 as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19. The change will apply to fixed-route buses, VIAtrans vans, and VIA Link vehicles.
Customers and employees will still be required to wear a mask, according to guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and a mandate from the federal government that remains in effect until September 13. VIA will continue daily and enhanced cleaning of all vehicles and encourages the community to observe good hygiene practices, including frequent hand-washing and hand-sanitizer.
The return to full capacity comes as Texas and San Antonio enter the next stages of recovery, with no local capacity limits on dining, retail or other public spaces or events. It follows route changes implemented in May that provide improved frequency and reliability on several routes.
“We’re thankful to everyone who continued to make essential trips throughout the past year and are ready to welcome back all those who followed local guidelines and restricted their trips during the height of the pandemic,” VIA President/CEO Jeffrey C. Arndt said. “We’re able to take this step toward recovery for VIA and the community we serve because our customers and employees did their part to keep San Antonio moving safely.”
When the pandemic reached San Antonio last spring, VIA asked passengers to make only essential trips, in keeping with local and federal health guidelines, and introduced safe capacity limits that capped bus ridership at 16 passengers per trip and between one and two passengers for van trips. When buses reached capacity, riders were asked to wait for the next bus to arrive. Extra buses were added to busy routes to reduce wait times while capacity limits were in place. A return to full capacity in June will mean shorter waits for passengers.
In the months before COVID, VIA was tracking significant ridership increases systemwide for several consecutive months. A months-long local lockdown and essential route schedules and capacity limits in place, contributed to about a 50% drop in daily ridership in 2020. As conditions improve and schools and businesses reopen, VIA is ready to return to pre-COVID ridership with safe, frequent service options.
To plan your next trip, visit VIAinfo.net or call VIA’s Customer Care line at VIA’s COVID-19 page.