VIA suspends fares through April 1; riders rejoice

Fare relief period aims to minimize interactions, protect passengers, bus operators

SAN ANTONIO – VIA plans to launch a system-wide fare relief period for all VIA fixed-route bus service, VIAtrans trips and VIA Link on-demand services, beginning Saturday.

According to a news release, all fares will be suspended through 1 a.m. on April 1. At the end of the period, VIA will evaluate and provide an update for moving ahead.

How VIA is keeping buses, facilities clean during the coronavirus pandemic

VIA President and CEO Jeffrey Arndt said the fare relief period is one of several measures the transportation agency is implementing to maintain essential service in a safe environment, providing some social distancing for bus operators, and offer some relief for residents impacted by the coronavirus.

“We realize that public transit is a necessity for many in our community everyday, and perhaps especially during a crisis, including those whose work is essential during emergencies, or who may rely on transit as their only means of travel to workplaces, meal distribution sites, critical service centers, or other necessary trips,” Arndt said.

VIA operators, maintenance, safety and customer care teams have been working hard to provide a clean and safe environment for customers.

“In keeping with local, state and federal public health emergency guidelines and restrictions, VIA is taking this additional step to help minimize in-person interactions when boarding a VIA bus or van. Fare-free service eliminates the need for passengers to use the farebox, speeds boarding and minimizes crowding at the front door,” Arndt said.

Customers and employees are asked to practice good hygiene and social distancing when aboard a bus and in public places.

VIA will continue to monitor developments and use every available resource to help secure the health and safety of riders, the public and transit employees.

COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March.

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