U.S. Congressman Henry Cuellar (District 28) and San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg joined VIA Metropolitan Transit Chair Fernando Reyes, VIA Board members, and President/CEO Jeffrey C. Arndt for the official dedication of the new VIAtrans Operations Center and Maintenance Facility (VTOC), according to VIA's news release.
The 11-acre property was designed to house VIAtrans operations and fleet maintenance.
Upon opening last month, VTOC became the first facility built by VIA, for VIA, in the history of the agency, and the first maintenance and operations center for public transit to open in San Antonio in more than 75 years, according to the agency.
The building is a former retail store and later, a popular nightclub before VIA bought and repurposed it to service VIA’s paratransit fleet and operations with vehicle fueling, detailing, and washing stations, underground oil tanks, and water capture technology, loading docks, vehicle maintenance bays, and office and exercise space for employees.
VIAtrans paratransit service is used by customers who cannot utilize the fixed-route bus system, due to a disability or impairment.
The move to consolidate at this location means more available space in VIA’s main bus yard at San Pedro and North Flores, where approximately 700 vehicles were previously housed and serviced daily. VIA said its original operations and maintenance facility was built in 1947 for the San Antonio Transit Company and stands at San Pedro Avenue and West Myrtle Street as the only such site for 75 years.
“These facilities will be the backbone of a growing system that is designed with more frequent, reliable bus and van service, expanded VIAlink service zones, and an Advanced Rapid System network of corridors that’s already underway,” Arndt said.
VIA said the capital project is part of its plan to "Keep San Antonio Moving" with investments designed to improve VIA programs and services. It was dedicated “in recognition of VIA Metropolitan Transit’s contributions to the continued growth and prosperity of the San Antonio and Bexar County region through its commitment to mobility for residents of all abilities," according to the agency.
The project received $6 million from the Federal Transit Administration’s Grant for Buses and Bus Facilities Program.
“I’m proud to support this project and proud that my office was able to help secure federal funds to make this milestone possible for VIA and the communities it serves,” Cuellar said.
Mayor Nirenberg lauded the projects as a “step in the right direction” for VIA and for San Antonio.
“For too long, VIA was operating out of a single facility built just after the end of World War II, to support a definition of mobility designed to meet the needs of a city that simply does not exist anymore,” he said. “Our city, our community, and what it means to have meaningful public transportation today has completely transformed.” . . . We need public transportation to stay competitive, to grow jobs, to attract talent, and to capture the momentum of this unprecedented growth. None of it works, without affordable, reliable public transportation.”