VIA expands on-demand service to Northwest side


Photo courtesy of Marc-Anthony Medina

The new VIA Link on-demand zone will mostly service UTSA students, who already benefit from free VIA services.

Bella Nieto, News Editor

On Nov. 12, VIA Metropolitan Transit celebrated the opening of its new VIA Link on-demand zone at the UTSA Main Campus. The Link zone services 14.4 square miles along Loop 1604 from Babcock Road to Culebra and Bandera Road from Loop 1604 to Mainland. This area includes the UTSA Main Campus and Northwest Vista Community College.

VIA Link service acts almost like Uber, replacing fixed routes with more frequent service for the same fares as regular bus service. Since students are already given free VIA services the expansion is also available with no charge to UTSA students. To book a trip, passengers can use the app, online portal or phone. Estimated wait times are 10 to 20 minutes with passengers able to travel anywhere in the on-demand zone, or at transfer points to the full VIA system. 

Student Body President Jose Escobedo explained how valuable he thinks the expansion will be for students. 

 “For a working-class population like ours, this new service means opportunity and peace of mind,” Escobedo said. “I believe this also gives not only the student but also their parents a sense of security that their child will be safe in a university-sponsored and trustworthy service like VIA Link. I can imagine it will make conversations about going away to college a lot easier knowing that there are so many free, safe and dependable options for transportation because of course we not only have VIA Link – we also have our Runner shuttles that transport students around the UTSA area and the regular VIA bus routes that go around the city. I remember in my first two years at UTSA I didn’t have my car with me so getting groceries was a tricky situation. I often had to wait for one of my friends to go get groceries so I could tag along or I had to save up for a grocery delivery service.”

Not only that, Escobedo explained how the partnership will further integrate UTSA and the city of San Antonio to fulfill the goal of marrying the two entities to become one. 

“I think this continuing partnership with VIA means that we are becoming more invested in the city of San Antonio and likewise the city and its partners are becoming more invested in our students,” Escobedo said. “Our potential for cooperation is limitless and I think if we continue on this path we will become the shining example of a city-integrated university that we have always strived for.”