VIA Trolleys Caught Running Lights

Defenders Cameras Catch VIA Drivers Running Lights In Alamo Plaza

Author: April Molina, Investigative Reporter, amolina@ksat.com
Published On: Oct 14 2011 11:42:55 PM CDT   Updated On: Sep 13 2011 01:43:40 AM CDT
SAN ANTONIO -

San Antonio visitor James Ellis took his first tour of the city by trolley and said he enjoyed it.

Despite his great experience, Ellis became concerned after hearing that some of the VIA street cars have been caught running red lights.

A downtown employee recalls watching a VIA trolley run a red light. A similar complaint by another employee triggered the KSAT Defenders' investigation into the matter.

On an afternoon ride around the red line, KSAT didn't notice any infractions, but when after camping out across the street from Alamo Plaza, the KSAT Defenders' cameras caught several infractions.

On the first day, a trolley cruised through a red light. Within 30 minutes, a VIA bus driver ran a red light without hesitation.

"Well you'd think they'd be some of the more responsible drivers in the community," said visitor Bruce Wilcox.

"I'm going to have to watch where I'm walking," said tourist Michael Smith.

A couple days after the first two red light sightings, cameras caught a third VIA driver running a red light.

"When you drive a trolley or bus, there's an implied trust there that you're going to take care of me and if you run a red light, you're not taking care of me," said visitor Jodie Tanner.

After showing the Defenders' undercover video to VIA Operations Manager Keith Hom, the Defenders requested an explanation.

"I believe that these kinds of infractions are isolated incidents. We get very few tickets to our operators for violating traffic laws," Hom said.

In less than two weeks, Defenders' cameras captured half a dozen questionable incidents.

Isolated or not, Hom said he would take care of the problem.

"We'll definitely assign more supervisors to this location and other locations downtown to make sure that it's an isolated case," Hom said.

According to VIA, discipline for running a red light is generally a day without pay.