VIA Link, VIA Metropolitan Transit’s new on-demand service for Northeast San Antonio carried more than 10,000 passengers in less than two months after VIA launched the pilot program on May 4.
VIA Link is the first of its kind in San Antonio and Bexar County and among the first in the nation, allowing transit riders to schedule trips on minivans when they need them. Rather than waiting for a bus to come by every 60 minutes along three bus routes that had been serving Northeast San Antonio, VIA Link customers can use a smart phone app to book a shared ride to pick them up. A VIA Link driver will arrive within 30 minutes at one of hundreds of designated pick-up points across the special VIA Link zone. Passengers can be dropped off anywhere in the Northeast zone or connect to a regular bus route to travel anywhere in the VIA service area. The flexibility provides better frequency, decreases travel times, minimizes walking distances, and offers more pick-up and drop-off locations.
VIA Link is the agency’s latest effort toward delivering smart transit options — part of its “VIA Reimagined” Plan to modernize transportation in the region. The VIA Link passenger count as of June 30 was 10,315.
VIA Link offers app-based trip booking, with options for online and call-in assistance, real-time vehicle tracking, and a rating system for customers to provide feedback about the trip and driver. VIA will continue regular bus routes in the pilot zone through mid-August to allow customers to transition to VIA Link service. Meanwhile, the pilot is also attracting new riders to VIA with a fast-growing demand for service.
VIA has partnered with app developer RideCo and Yellow Cab to operate seven branded VIA Link vans in the zone, with the ability to scale up to meet higher demand during service hours. Each van can seat up to five passengers and can accommodate individuals who have a mobility impairment. Vehicles with a bike rack can be requested during trip booking. Regular VIA fares and discounts apply.