Please stand clear ... San Antonio's transit system has just pulled in a major accolade. On March 22, the Texas Transit Association awarded VIA Metropolitan Transit the award for Outstanding Metropolitan Transit System in Texas for 2018.
TTA honors systems in a variety of categories including Outstanding Rural Transit System and Transit Innovation Award, as well as awards given to individual employees across the state. In order to determine a winning city for its Outstanding Metropolitan Transit System award, TTA looks for systems that are both innovating and, most importantly, connecting commuters.
VIA beat out all the other major cities in Texas to route the title back to San Antonio for a second year. (It also won in 2016.) "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," the association said in a release.
Among the milestones VIA achieved in 2017:
- A total fleet conversion to replace diesel buses with natural gas vehicles.
- A redesigned website and online trip planner to include user-friendly features that focused on the customer experience and responsive to multiple devices and platforms.
- 1,000 bus stop improvements with new shelters.
- Debut of VIA's free app with planning and ticketing tools.
- "Ride & Read" program which gives customers instant access to the Bexar County BiblioTech e-library using VIA's free Wi-Fi.
"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 and CEO Jeffrey C. Arndt said in a release.
The winner was determined by members of the TTA, including reps from both Texas transit systems and systems across the U.S. The awards are part of the association's greater advocacy and mission to improve public transit options and access to citizens throughout the state of Texas.