The E: San Antonio’s New, Free Downtown Bus Route

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The E route trollies will have a bright "E" that indicates a free ride. Photo courtesy of VIA Metropolitan Transit.

The E route trollies will have a bright "E" that indicates a free ride. Photo courtesy of VIA Metropolitan Transit.

San Antonio locals and visitors will have a new, free option to get around downtown starting Saturday, March 28. “The E” line, a new center city route being launched by VIA Metropolitan Transit, will run every 10 minutes from 6 p.m. to midnight, Tuesday through Saturday.

The new line should be a boon for the city’s entertainment and hospitality venues, and appeal to locals as well.

“The E offers a fabulous opportunity to showcase downtown San Antonio as an entertainment hub and to conveniently connect people to the places they want to visit,” Centro San Antonio President and CEO Pat DiGiovanni said in a news release. “We want to make it easy for people to take advantage of everything downtown has to offer. We’re excited to be a part of the launch of this new service.”

The new circulator route will connect the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, Majestic, Empire, and Aztec theaters, La Villita, the Convention Center, and Rivercenter Mall – as well as the bars, restaurants, and retail in between. For more information, visit and

The E route trollies will have a bright “E” that indicates a free ride.

free ride san antonio VIA Metropolitan Transit's new E route is free Tuesday though Saturday evenings.

VIA Metropolitan Transit’s new E route (look for the trollies with the E logo) is free Tuesday though Saturday evenings, 6.p.m. to midnight.

“VIA is proud to announce the launch of The E alongside our many community partners today. This new service reflects VIA’s continued commitment to a robust presence in downtown, and provides a great travel option in and around the downtown area,” stated VIA Board Secretary Marc Harrison.

Those partners include the City of San Antonio’s Center City Development and Operations Department and Centro San Antonio’s downtown Public Improvement District.

The announcement came Tuesday morning during a press conference held in recognition of Downtown Tuesday‘s third anniversary. The initiative aims to encourage visitors and residents to get out on the town by offering free parking at all City-operated parking garages, lots, and meters every Tuesday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.

To further celebrate its anniversary, Downtown Tuesday will host a “Be-Cause” dinner event on the River Walk. Guests start at Mad Dog’s British Pug for appetizers and will then take a water taxi to Rio Rio Cantina and Landry’s Seafood for the second and third courses. Tickets are still available at Eventbrite, but online sales close at 5:30 p.m.

“We look forward to expanding the success of the Downtown Tuesday initiative,” said Councilmember Roberto Treviño (D1). “It makes our downtown more vibrant and welcoming to residents and visitors alike.”


*Featured/top image: The E route trollies will have a bright “E” that indicates a free ride. Photo courtesy of VIA Metropolitan Transit.

Related Stories:

‘Be-Cause’ Offers Sneak Peek of Tobin Center

Urban Core Magnets: Downtown Tuesday and Be-Cause

Downtown Tuesday: “A Worthwhile Experiment”

Ambassador Amigos: Walking and Working Downtown with a San Antonio Saint

24 thoughts on “The E: San Antonio’s New, Free Downtown Bus Route

  1. This is a good start but needs to run till at least 2am if they are targeting a night that focuses on people being “out on the town” – My grandparents stay out longer than 12m.

    Hopefully people use it and they can extend hours.

  2. This is the kind of program VIA needs to be focusing on. Buses should be free. 24 hours. Let the advertisers pay for the ride.

  3. Good job VIA….
    But you can do a better job by extending hours and adding more routes i.e. AT&T center .. Alamo brewery… Alamodome …
    Cater to the locals!!

  4. Hotel shuttle. We’re supposed to get to and back from Market and Alamo how? It should have gone down to Blue Star.

  5. Is it really a one way route? It’s a start, but it would be nice if the trolleys were free, those actually go to places tourist and residents go to.

  6. Don’t get me wrong, I love via. Daily rider. As a senior I ride free on weekends and love the fact that it only costs me a quarter to get to work in the morning. Cool.
    However I don’t think this is a big plus for locals other than Tues. nights. Multiple parking options are a big plus but this coverage area is easily walkable for those without mobility issues. I can see the benefit for those trying to make a show before curtain time etc but I have to question the usefulness for the average downtown visitor that could easily walk the distance in the 10 minutes it would take to wait for, and ride a trolley with multiple stops.
    And unless I’m mistaken, trolleys are not ADA friendly.
    My 2¢.

  7. This would have made a lot more sense if it ran from south town/Bluestar/ S. Flores up to the lower broadway corridor. This seems like another tourist focused idea, and only until midnight? We botched the streetcar and ride share in favor of this???? This is why I’m moving to Austin

  8. Some of you need to realize this is a pilot and good first start. If it’s successful enough, they can then expand it. So that means you all need to not just talk about and complain about transportation, but actually use it.

    For those of you lamenting about how it needs to go to Blue Star, I get picked up and dropped off over there on the Blue line regularly, and NO ONE, I mean NO ONE from Southtown rides this line with any regularlity whatsoever. Why extend something to an area that no one even utilizes anyway? I feel fortunate the Blue line even continues frequent service to Blue Star, because I’m usually the only one even on it.

  9. We chose to take a trolley tour so that we wouldn’t have to fight the traffic in an unfamiliar city. I struggled with which tour to take and was offered a free pass for this particular company. I wanted to tell others that we didn’t get the whole tour, our driver only let us off when he wanted to rather than at scheduled stops. This started off fine until we had stops we were interested in , asked to get off and never saw him again. We didn’t get our hour tour and only stopped twice out of 7 stops. It was Spring Break so traffic and parking was horrendous. We lost money on this venture. Just so you know.

  10. On my last trip to San Antonio I stayed at the Red Roof Inn across the highway from the Convention Center. Instead of walking across busy streets or driving half a mile and parking we decided to take the public transportation.
    The maps are pretty easy to read and the routes are pretty consistent. I’m not really a fan of public transportation in the BUSY cities of Dallas, Houston and San Antonio because of the sketchiness of the people…but things were fine. I’m not so sure I’d be comfortable at night, by myself but it was ok being with another friend.

  11. The E trolley is no more, according to a driver they discontinued the free service a while back. If you want to ride the trolley it is $1.30 per adult and .65 cents for kids aged 5-11.

  12. Please remove the article as the information is no longer correct. There is no longer an e route. The free service was done away with some time in June 2016. As the previous poster mentioned, you can utilize the 301 Downtown route for $1.30 one way for adults and $0.65 one way for children. You can also purchase a day pass for $2.75.

      • You need to put a bold notation on the top of this article that the E route has been discontinued. As a tourist, I was ready to depend on this data. The only reason I found it wasn’t true was I went looking for a printable map on the VIA website.

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