JANUARY 8, 2020 — Editor’s note: The university’s new partnership with the local transit authority will provide free transportation throughout the city with a special pass and further UTSA’s commitment to walkable campus environments and sustainable commuting. [First published March 20, 2019]
UTSA today announced a new partnership with VIA Metropolitan Transit that provides the entire university community with free bus passes to transport them between campuses and throughout San Antonio.
Beginning with the fall 2019 semester VIA will provide free, unlimited access to bus service anywhere in the city for current students, faculty and staff. As San Antonio’s urban serving university, the VIA U-Pass program will offer cost savings and sustainable commuting options for all Roadrunners.
“This agreement with VIA will radically change the way UTSA approaches transportation,” said UTSA President Taylor Eighmy. “The VIA U-Pass will allow students, faculty and staff to easily move between UTSA’s campuses—and throughout San Antonio—with minimal environmental impact. Given our plans to increase enrollment to 45,000 in the next decade, this is a worthy investment that takes some financial pressure off our students while supporting the city’s sustainable transportation goals.”
—CLAY HAVERLAND, Assistant Vice President for Campus Services
The program—which will be funded fully by UTSA without any student transportation fee increases—will make it easier for Roadrunners to leave their cars at home, reducing congestion on campus roads and parking lots. VIA has a wide range of routes across the San Antonio region, including route 93 and route 94 which provide convenient and quick transportation between the university’s Main and Downtown campuses.
UTSA’s campus transit system, The ’Runner, will continue to provide Main Campus transportation to and from on-campus parking lots and select nearby apartment complexes. Additionally, campus ride sharing programs are currently being explored under the leadership of UTSA’s new vice president for business affairs, Veronica Mendez.
University administrators first began looking into the VIA collaboration after an internal survey initiated by the Downtown Campus Task Force showed strong interest on the part of students and employees in alternative transportation options between campuses.
“The VIA U-Pass program will advance our efforts to reduce UTSA’s carbon footprint and alleviate on-campus traffic,” said Clay Haverland, assistant vice president for campus services. “We are excited to move into this new era of expanded transportation opportunities.”
U-Pass riders must be currently registered UTSA students or full-time or part-time paid employees of the university. To board a VIA bus, riders will use the VIA goMobile ticketing app as their credential. All VIA buses offer instant access to the Bexar BiblioTech e-library and free 4G LTE Wi-Fi, allowing students and employees to stay connected while traveling.
VIA will monitor ridership and route use by the UTSA community, with the option to adjust routes as needed.
“We aim to offer all our students a comprehensive living and learning experience,” said Sam Gonzales, UTSA vice president for student affairs. “The VIA U-Pass will make it even easier for them to pursue experiential learning opportunities and fully engage with the city of San Antonio.”
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