On-demand service in northeastern zone revolutionized transit in 2019

VIA Metropolitan Transit’s VIA Link — Naco Pass (northeast zone) has reached a major milestone with more than 500,000 trips on the shared-ride service that is similar to Uber and Lyft. The agency introduced VIA Link as a “smart transit” solution that uses innovation to improve service delivery, customer experience and cost efficiency in the greater San Antonio region.

In 2019, when VIA launched its first zone, the agency transformed public transportation in an area where fixed-route service was difficult to provide. VIA Link began as a pilot program that has since become a cornerstone of service for VIA in the region. VIA Link replaced infrequent fixed-route bus service in a section of Northeast San Antonio, where suburban-area street configurations made it difficult to deliver efficient service.

The VIA Link – Naco Pass service located on San Antonio’s Northeast Side reached over 50,000 trips in its first five months of operation. Its success prompted VIA to launch a second VIA Link zone in 2021 – VIA Link Mainland, on the Northwest Side; a third zone — VIA Link Madla on the South Side in 2022; and a fourth zone – VIA Link Randolph in 2023. VIA Link expansion is part of VIA’s Keep SA Moving plan, approved by voters in 2020. The innovative, app-based service provides frequent, reliable trip options in areas where traditional bus service is inefficient.

VIA Link Van with Bike Rider

VIA Link Naco Pass was the first zone for the on-demand transportation that now serves four zones.

“Expanding VIA Link service was the natural next step in realizing the Keep SA Moving plan promise to move more people faster and farther, particularly in areas where innovation is needed to deliver modern transit solutions,” VIA President/CEO Jeffrey C. Arndt said. “VIA Link – Naco Pass is home to major employment and residential centers that are helping to drive growth for our city and region and represent VIA’s mission to connect our community to opportunity.”

VIA Link passengers can travel anywhere in the zone and connect directly to bus routes at designated transfer points to travel outside the zone. The flexibility provides better frequency, decreases travel times, minimizes walking distances and offers more pick-up and drop-off locations. Customers are usually picked up within 20 minutes of booking and can track and rate their rides through the free app. VIA Link vans are fully accessible and can accommodate wheelchairs and bicycles upon request.

VIA Link service is available seven days a week from 5 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. for the Madla, Naco Pass, and Mainland zones, and 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. for the Randolph zone.

Customers can book a ride through the VIA Link app, on our VIA Link page, or by calling (210) 655-LINK (5465) and pay using the VIA goMobile+ app, a VIA transit pass, or cash. The Transit app also offers options to book complete trips, including a connecting bus or BCycle trip.