There’s much more than just the presidential contest on this year’s ballot.
With early voting already underway, San Antonians have the opportunity to vote for Proposition A, a comprehensive public transportation plan to expand access throughout the city.
In a recent Facebook Live conversation, Marisa Bono, VIA Metropolitan Transit’s chief strategic officer, laid out what the proposition would mean for San Antonio residents -- and particularly how it would benefit older adults.
“Depending on voter approval, the 1/8th cent sales tax on the ballot would be split between workforce and educational training and public transportation,” Bono said, in conversation with Ismael Herrera, who leads AARP Texas’ San Antonio outreach work.
If accepted by voters, funding for this proposition and for Proposition B of the City of San Antonio would be phased: sales tax funds would first be allocated to the workforce development effort, after which, beginning Jan. 1, 2026, the advanced transportation district would start collecting those funds.
The plan intends to alleviate congestion issues likely to arise as the city continues to grow, Bono said. By 2040, estimates show over 3 million people will call San Antonio home.
In a pre-COVID survey, VIA Transit found that 72% of its riders work full time, 60% don’t have access to a vehicle at home and almost 20% of riders are 55 years old or above.
“So the Keep SA Moving plan wants to be conscious of our core riders now, and potential riders who will be moving to our community in the future,” said Bono.
It would accomplish this by expanding service by about 30%, creating more frequent and reliable service, increasing mobility options and making more trips options available to different and special needs riders.
One of its more innovative solutions is expanding the VIA Link service -- launched in 2019 in North East San Antonio, VIA Link replaced traditional bus services with an on-demand transit service, similar to Uber of Lift. Crucially, it operates on the same fare structure as VIA services, so requesting a personal trip to a specific location costs the same as the bus.
Proposition A intends to increase VIA Link from 17 square miles to about 300 square miles across Bexar County. This change would benefit seniors, Bono said, as all vehicles are fully accessible and ADA compliant, and they can pull up closer to residents’ door steps.
Currently, VIA has several programs designed to benefit older riders, Bono added. In addition to qualifying for reduced rates, riders aged 62 and older only pay 25 cents per trip from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays and ride for free on Saturday and Sunday.
“All of the programs that are specifically meant to benefit seniors and other vulnerable groups will similarly expand,” Bono said.
Should Proposition A pass, expansion to the Keep SA Moving plan will increase seniors’ walking access to frequent transport service by 44%.
To learn more about the proposition, tune in to a live Tele Town Hall event tomorrow, Oct. 14 at 7 p.m. by calling 855-962-0989 or by registering at keepsamoving.com.
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