Hope Andrade and Marilyn Jones first to be inducted

VIA Metropolitan Transit honored on Wednesday two trailblazing leaders who played pivotal roles in establishing, promoting and enhancing transit in San Antonio: Esperanza “Hope” Andrade and Marilyn G. Jones (posthumously).

VIA Board Chair Fernando Reyes, Vice Chair Laura Cabanilla, Trustee Bob Comeaux, VIA President/CEO Jeffrey C. Arndt and others came together to honor Andrade and Jones, whose family was present, during an induction ceremony at the VIA Metro Center Board Room, where the Hall of Honor installation is housed. The space was dedicated Wednesday. Andrade and Jones are the inaugural inductees to VIA’s Hall of Honor. Board members may nominate up to two honorees each year.

Andrade began her service to the VIA Board of Trustees in the 1990s and returned in 2015 to serve as its Chair, offering visionary leadership during a time of immense change and growth for the agency. During her tenure, she oversaw progress of major capital and service projects while championing the success of ATD Proposition A in 2020. The measure earned overwhelming voter approval to dedicate a 1/8-cent of existing sales tax to fund transit improvements through VIA’s Keep SA Moving Plan and changed the future of public transportation for the region.

Hall of Honor - Hope Andrade with VIA Chair Fernando Reyes and his wife Norma.

ABOVE: Former VIA Chair Hope Andrade (center) was joined by current VIA Chair Fernando Reyes and his wife, Norma, during the inaugural VIA Hall of Honor ceremony.
TOP PHOTO: VIA Founding Chair Marilyn Jones’ family members Shirley J. Bennett (from left), Monica Sonier, Sharon Jones Schweitzer, and Sandra Thomson accepted a plaque recognizing the transit pioneer’s contributions.

Andrade’s contributions have had a lasting impact on major transportation initiatives on the local and statewide level. Her leadership allowed VIA to advance its vision for a modern transportation system that provides greater mobility for generations to come.

Jones, who died in 2019, served as founding chair of the board of VIA Metropolitan Transit Authority from 1978 to 1980 and board member 1980 to 1981. She led historic efforts that revitalized San Antonio’s transit system and championed establishment of metropolitan transit authorities in Texas, where VIA was the first. Her appointment resulted in a self-managed, self-sufficient independent agency and transit system that continues to grow and improve.

“I’m proud that today we are recognizing two outstanding VIA Board members – Marilyn Jones and Hope Andrade – as the first inductees to the VIA Hall of Honor,” Board Chair Fernando Reyes said. “Their life and work helped shape the agency we know today and their vision for uplifting our community through mobility helped chart a brighter future.”