A new VIA Metropolitan Transit Prímo line started running in January and to celebrate, the bus system is offering free rides on that route all day Thursday, Feb. 14.
The new Prímo 103 Zarzamora line connects Crossroads Park & Ride in Northwest San Antonio to Madla Transit Center on the Southwest Side. The Westside rapid-transit option offers shorter wait times and fewer stops along the first Prímo 100 route on Fredericksburg Road, and the new route on Zarzamora Street.
VIA President and CEO Jeff Arndt announced the free-ride promotion at a press conference on Monday. Arndt said VIA wanted to celebrate the “union” of fewer stops and faster service for Valentine’s Day.
“It’s a match made in transit heaven,” Arndt said. “VIA Prímo is the region’s first high-frequency service, but definitely not our last.”
On weekdays, the Prímo 103 runs from 4 a.m to 1 a.m., with buses every 12 minutes between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Wait time lengthens slightly on the weekends. On Saturday, the line runs from 4:30 a.m. to 1 a.m., and every 15 minutes from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., while on Sunday it runs from 5:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. and every 15 minutes from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. A full schedule and map can be found here.
VIA expects to launch its third rapid-transit route, Prímo 102, along Military Drive later this year. The line will connect the West Side’s Kel-Lac Transit Center to the new Brooks Transit Center in Southeast San Antonio. Arndt said the Prímo routes aim to hit the “sweet spot” of transit.
“The sweet spot is when you don’t have to look at a schedule anymore,” he said. “And so 10 to 12 minutes is kind of the outer end of the sweet spot, if you will, and that’s what we’re aiming for in our system today.”
VIA’s newest trustee, Kristi Villanueva, also attended Monday’s press conference. Villanueva serves as president and CEO of the West San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, and was appointed to the board on Jan. 31. She replaced former VIA board member Brian Dillard, who resigned last October to work for the City’s SmartSA program.
Villanueva said her roles with VIA and the West San Antonio Chamber give her the opportunity to push for economic development in the region. Higher-frequency bus service along Zarzamora helps businesses and their customers in the area, she said.
“A transit system is the lifeline of a city’s business community,” she said. “It creates the connections that provide employment opportunities in addition to access to business, retail, medical, and other services.”
Bexar County Commissioner Justin Rodriguez (Pct. 2) praised VIA for establishing a Prímo line in West San Antonio. As the city grows, local officials must figure out how to keep people in the city moving, Rodriguez said.
“I know I represent parts of the city that are fast-growing, where people are traffic-locked, so I’m excited to work with VIA because we all know they’re a crucial part of solving the equation,” Rodriguez said.