SAN ANTONIO – VIA’s board of directors approved a series of service changes on Tuesday evening as the agency continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Buses will run more frequently on multiple routes while others will be combined.
“By reactivating some roads and expanding some of those road capabilities, it goes hand in hand with the recovery of this community and the economy,” said Jon Gary Herrera, senior vice president of public engagement for VIA . “So we are following a parallel path with this. “
The routes that will be combined include Route 9 Broadway Frequent and Route 10 Naco / Broadway Frequent, as well as Route 6 US-281 Express and Route 7 Stone Oak Express. Current Route 7 departs from the relatively new Stone Oak Park and Ride which was suspended during the pandemic.
The new Combined Route 7 will run every 30 minutes from the Park and Ride to downtown during the day, then from downtown to Brooks City Base every 60 minutes during peak hours.
The change aims to take advantage of new HOV lanes on US Highway 281, slated to open later this year, and a new sky bridge that will connect HOV lanes to the garage.
“And this flyover is indeed for our buses on which we will be taking multiple passengers, whether it be the express or other routes that we are going to introduce into the system in this area of the city,” Herrera said.
The frequency will be added to other routes such as the McCullough, Rigsby and UTSA Express routes, all in response to growing demand.
“The less time you spend traveling on our system, the more attractive it becomes to the individual,” Herrera said. “And frequency, frequency, frequency is indeed a mantra that we not only preach, but start delivering again as we recover from COVID,” Herrera said.
Passenger volume increased 9% year-over-year in April 2021, the last month for which full statistics are available. May ridership also tends to increase, Herrera said. At one point in the pandemic, passenger volume fell by 50%.
The service changes will take effect on August 23.
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