Shift from Park to Progress, San Antonio's VIA Pumps Brakes on Alamo Ranch Facility Amid Outcry, Accelerates Microtransit Solutions

Shift from Park to Progress, San Antonio's VIA Pumps Brakes on Alamo Ranch Facility Amid Outcry, Accelerates Microtransit SolutionsSource: Google Street View
Jesse Hoffman
Published on November 27, 2023

VIA Metropolitan Transit, San Antonio's mass transit authority, has put the brakes on a controversial plan for a Park & Ride facility that had the Alamo Ranch community up in arms. Despite purchasing a 16-acre lot for the project last year, VIA announced a change of gears after a neighborhood uproar that led to a petition garnering over 1,000 signatures in less than a week, according to a report by KSAT. Critics, like local resident Trish Marshall, blasted the idea, saying, "I think there’s better ways to use a dense tree canopy than turning into a parking lot."

But it's not all gridlock for VIA, which, in partnership with RideCo, the leading on-demand transit solution provider, and zTrip, a taxi company, recently expanded microtransit services in San Antonio. This initiative has led to a pioneering transportation model, boasting an industry-leading cost-per-trip and sky-high service quality marks. Just after VIA backed off the Park & Ride, these partners were busy accelerating the future of community transit, launching a new zone to bring efficient transit to yet more San Antonians, as detailed in a news release shared by Newswire Canada.

This new focus arises from VIA's vision of creating innovative and efficient mobility options in areas where traditional fixed routes don't make financial sense. VIA Link, the service in question, reportedly operates at roughly "75% less expensive" than a standard fixed-route service, with average wait times around 15 minutes and an on-time performance above 95%, as VIA's Manager of Contract Services David Vidal highlighted. These services, connecting first- and last-mile gaps, are reshaping the way residents access their city's greater network, as detailed by Newswire Canada.

Meanwhile, the seemingly defunct Park & Ride project in Alamo Ranch continues to hold a potential future, with VIA hinting at the possibility of transforming a portion of the purchased land into a park and pool where people could rendezvous to carpool. VIA, committed to still providing a pulsating heartbeat for San Antonio's rapid development—even if the land may end up being sold, according to a VIA statement obtained by KSAT – continues to keep channels open with Alamo Ranch residents, reaffirming that the project remains on pause.

It's this balancing act between progress and preservation, between expansion and community voice, that VIA seems keen on maintaining. They're moving away from big parking lots and focusing more on flexible, on-demand transit. Instead of just building stuff, they're aiming to connect people, not only in Alamo Ranch but also throughout the expanding city of San Antonio.