‘Frequency, frequency, frequency’ is the mantra for VIA as agency updates post-pandemic transit schedules

Upcoming changes include more service from Stone Oak Park and Ride off Highway 281

SAN ANTONIO – VIA’s Board of Directors signed off on a round of service changes Tuesday evening as the agency continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Buses will run more frequently on several routes while others will be combined.

“In reactivating some of the routes and expansions of some of those route capacities, that goes along with the recovery of this community and the economy,” said Jon Gary Herrera, senior vice president of public engagement for VIA. “So we’re running a parallel path with that.”

Routes that will be combined include the Route 9 Broadway Frequent and the Route 10 Naco/Broadway Frequent, as well as the Route 6 US-281 Express and Route 7 Stone Oak Express. The current Route 7 runs from the relatively new Stone Oak Park and Ride that 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, and then from downtown to Brooks City Base every 60 minutes during peak travel times.

The change seeks to take advantage of the new HOV lanes on U.S. Highway 281, set to open later this year and a new flyover bridge that will connect the HOV lanes with the garage.

“And that flyover is indeed for our buses that we will be taking multiple passengers on, either the express or other routes that we’re going to introduce to the system out in that area of town,” Herrera said.

Frequency will be added to other routes like the McCullough, Rigsby and the UTSA Express routes, all in response to increasing demand.

“The less time you spend traveling on our system, the more attractive it becomes for the individual,” Herrera said. “And frequency, frequency, frequency is indeed a mantra that not only do we preach, but we are starting to deliver again as we recover from COVID,” Herrera said.

Passenger volume was up 9% year to year in April 2021, the last month for which full statistics are available. May ridership is also trending upward, Herrera said. At one point during the pandemic, passenger volume was down 50%.

The service changes take effect Aug. 23.

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About the Author:

Samuel King anchors traffic during GMSA and reports on transportation and mobility issues across the San Antonio region. He joined the KSAT 12 news team in 2020 from KUT in Austin. Samuel was born in Queens, spent time growing up in South Alabama and graduated from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.