A Via bus exits Centro Plaza. Photo by Scott Ball.
A VIA bus exits Centro Plaza which is located two blocks from UTSA's Downtown Campus. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

University of Texas at San Antonio students, faculty, and staff will be able to ride VIA anywhere in the city of San Antonio for free beginning next semester. The program is fully funded by UTSA and will not result in a student transportation fee increase.

The university is touting the new program, called VIA U-Pass, as a way to help students travel between campuses and minimize the environmental impact of the school’s enrollment growth as it aims to enroll 45,000 students in the next decade.

“This agreement with VIA will radically change the way UTSA approaches transportation,” UTSA President Taylor Eighmy said in a statement. “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.”

UTSA’s existing bus system, The ‘Runner, will continue to ferry students around the school’s main campus by Loop 1604. The university also is exploring campus ridesharing programs.

Students currently registered at UTSA or full- or part-time paid employees of the university are eligible for the new free bus service. VIA will monitor ridership patterns and may adjust routes if necessary, according to a UTSA release.

Alamo Colleges students and faculty and Our Lady of the Lake University students can currently take advantage of a similar program, paid for by their own respective schools.

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Emily Donaldson

Emily Donaldson reports on education for the San Antonio Report.