Katie Walsh / Rivard Report
VIA Metropolitan Transit launched three new VIVA routes Monday morning that connect locals and visitors to the Missions of San Antonio, destinations in the urban core, and cultural institutions along the Broadway corridor.
The three routes — VIVA Missions, VIVA Centro, and VIVA Culture — will be serviced by a new fleet of 15 CNG-fueled buses with specialized VIVA branding and signage along each of the routes. Standards bus rates apply: $1.30 for a single trip, $2.75 for a VIVA unlimited Day Pass, or a 7-day pass for $12.
"This is another resource — a tool in our toolbox — for highlighting our city and bringing our visitors and locals to connect (not only) with our culture and with our fine arts centers, but with our heritage as well," said Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran (D3). The new routes will connect visitors to "the story that we tell of San Antonio and San Antonians."
The VIVA Missions route, which runs from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily, is the first seamless connection between Alamo Plaza, Mission Concepción, San José, and San Juan. VIA will be adding a stop at Mission Espada once construction on Espada Road is completed.
The new route was inspired by public input gathered during three World Heritage symposia held in response to the Spanish-colonial Missions' UNESCO World Heritage designation last July.
"This is just the beginning," Viagran said. She emphasized the progress that has been made since the designation in terms of planning efforts surrounding the Missions as well as the future impact increased tourism will have on the Missions and San Antonio.
The VIVA Centro route, which runs every 15 minutes on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. and weekends from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., is a combination of various preexisting routes that connect St. Paul Square through the urban core to the VIA Centro Plaza on the Westside. The route also stops at various cross streets where passengers can transfer from regular VIA bus stops.
The VIVA Culture route connects some of the city's historical and cultural institutions on and around Broadway Street between the McNay Art Museum and Blue Star Arts Complex, among them The Witte Museum, the San Antonio Museum of Art, and the San Antonio Zoo. It will run from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, with service to The Pearl until 11 p.m.
The launch of the three new routes was announced on the steps of The DoSeum, a destination along the VIVA Culture route that celebrated its first birthday Monday as well.
"Our city is going to benefit tremendously from these routes," DoSeum CEO Vanessa Lacoss Hurd said. "With these routes, we are going to be able to continue to reach deeper into the community to ensure that everybody can get to The DoSeum and all of the cultural locations along this corridor."
Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff stressed the importance of top tier public transportation for a growing city like San Antonio.
"This is indeed a great cultural corridor," Wolff said. "We should be very proud of what's happening along Broadway Street, but it's also important that we continue to improve this corridor."
Top image: Locals board a new VIVA Culture Bus, which begins service Monday June 6, at the VIVA Kickoff on Monday afternoon. Photo by Katie Walsh.