VIA Metropolitan Transit has been recognized by the Texas Transit Association (TTA) as the Outstanding Metropolitan Transit System in Texas for 2018 and received the TTA's Transit Innovation Award at the Association's annual conference in San Antonio on March 22, 2018.
TTA recognized VIA for its work in 2017 to transform the region's public transportation system by designing and implementing programs and services that demonstrate innovation, show effective problem solving, and integrate technology. VIA received TTA's Outstanding Metropolitan Transit System Award in 2016, and VIA President/CEO Jeffrey C. Arndt was named its Outstanding Public Transportation General Manager in 2017.
"It's an honor to be recognized by the Texas Transit Association for our work in transit innovation and, most importantly, for the work we do each day to connect our region, expand access to opportunity, and move the people of our community," VIA President/CEO Jeffrey C. Arndt said. "As we celebrate 40 years of service in 2018, it's especially meaningful and motivating to receive this affirmation."
Key achievements in 2017 that helped secure this award include:
- VIA began a total fleet conversion to replace diesel buses with compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles. When completed, this conversion will reduce NOx emissions by 97 percent.
- VIA launched a redesigned website and online trip planner to include intuitive features focused on the customer experience and responsive to multiple devices and platforms.
- The agency completed 1,000 bus stop improvements with new shelters installed throughout the VIA service area and now provides sheltered locations for 95 percent of boardings in the region.
- The VIA goMobile app debuted and offers convenient planning and ticketing tools. The free app is part of VIA's ongoing smart transit initiatives that expands access to public transit and streamline the boarding process.
- VIA's "Ride & Read" program gives customers instant access to the Bexar County BiblioTech e-library, using VIA's free systemwide WiFi. BiblioTech is the nation's first all-digital library, offering over 40,000 titles, research materials, and digital resources.
- VIA established an annual coding competition for digital transit solutions through Go Code SA, a partnership with tech industry leaders, organizations, and entrepreneurs. The 2017 Codeathon produced an Amazon Alexa skill that provides voice-activated trip planning.
The mission of the Texas Transit Association is to support the needs of Texas public transportation systems through statewide advocacy and education. TTA actively supports public transportation in the State of Texas and works with members of the state legislature in the pursuit of additional resources. The TTA's membership is composed of Texas metropolitan, small urban and rural transit agencies, as well as private and public entities from across the U.S.