VIA is about to Break the Rules that made it great.

It’s beginning to look like the long awaited Brooks City Base Park and Ride is about to open up and VIA was recently taking feedback on the proposed route changes to this facility. All the bus routes that have been served the southeast side of San Antonio (20, 32, 34, 36, Looper) including a new Primo route are coming together at this location. But several changes are going to hurt VIA that makes VIA a pretty easy system to use.

The first problem is that when you remove a bus route, you will inevitably cause some grief and I see that will happen with removing the 20 from serving the bus Stop in front of the Cielo Hills Apartments. The proposed route changes make sense for the 20, but if you fail to replace this section of the route 20 bus stop with either the 32 or 34 routes, VIA will surely live up to the belief of being a system that sucks. My recommendation is to replace this bus with the the route that runs late the most. Having that bus route go down SE Military and stop at the stops that the proposed 552 won’t be stopping at will help make up for the reroute of the 20 and will help make up lost time due to SE Military being the quickest way to get to the Park and Ride from Goliad.

The next problem is that VIA will be breaking it’s long time rule for numbering it’s bus routes. The rule goes a little like a this: numbers 1 – 99 where routes are that went from downtown to the outskirts of town. They subcategory these routes with the numbers 1-19 serves the northeast side of town, 21-39 served the east/southeast, and so on. The 500s were crosstown, and the 600s were routes that went around suburban neighborhoods called circulars.

The people at VIA use to make good judgment on how it numbered it’s bus routes, but lately, they’ve been doing a terrible job. The first example is the 515 route. A few years ago, a segment was added to the route thats was served by the former 508 route, up Walters from McCreless. Instead of doing what VIA use to do, which was have the bus change route numbers at a particular location, they instead kept the same number which has caused confusion ever since they put in the Walters St segment to the 515. To end any confusion in the future, all VIA has to do is to simply have the bus change route number at McCreless like they use to have the 14 change to the number of 642 at Naco Pass.

As I wrote before in “What VIA Gets Right,” having bus change route numbers is a good thing especially through downtown. This prevents confusion and allows VIA today run it’s buses very efficiently. VIA taught me the bus route lesson, “a bus route should tell you where it goes, not what it does.” The first problem with these proposed changes is the proposed route 552. Renaming this route makes sense, but only the portions between Kel-Lac and Randolph. The segment from Randolph to Brooks should be numbered the 550. This prevents confusion for those boarding the bus at Randolph Park and Ride for those wanting to go to WW White.

The same will go for the number 6 not changing to a different number going through downtown. By not changing the route number, you’re going to create confusion for those who are use to boarding the number 6 on St Mary’s going out to Stone Oak. There use to be a express bus that served the southeast side of town in the early 90s called the 38 Express. It served McCreless every hour or so and then served Elmendorf during the early mornings and evenings. My recommendations for this instead of calling it the 6, call this new express route the 37, Brook City Base.

Before I finish up here, I will like to remind people that this isn’t a good place for a Transit Center for it’s location away from where people want to go. But that being said, I’m looking forward to this place opening up.


What VIA Gets Right:

Advice on Improving VIA Part I:

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