By Alexa Lewis
VIA Metropolitan Transit officials are discussing new plans for a transit center in the Brooks City-Base area in response to growth brought in by Texas A&M-San Antonio, Toyota Motor Manufacturing facility and the Eagle Ford Shale.
A meeting was held at Mission Branch Library on Sept. 18 to present the idea to the public and gather input on the location of a new transit center.
The crowded room of mostly VIA representatives gathered in front of a projection screen to explain to the citizens in the audience why they thought the new transit center was so important.
“It is about making our area of town stronger,” District 3 Councilwoman Leticia Ozuna said.
VIA representatives displayed plans for the new transit center and shared their goals for the future, stating that they planned to have the transit center open for service in 2015.
A presentation showed that the new transit station would include eight bus bays, interior air conditioned space, real-time information signs, security cameras, ticket sales and restroom facilities.
Maps, charts and graphs were set up around the room so the meeting attendees could see VIA’s planning process.
Although VIA has done research and planning as to where the exact service locations will go, Christina Castano, VIA transit planner and the meeting’s presenter, said they have not decided for sure.
VIA’s fall newsletter states, “VIA is researching a number of potential site locations for a new permanent transit center facility. Our project team members are using evaluation criteria to prioritize candidate sites and identify a preferred site. ”
Castano said VIA made it a priority to accommodate the 19,000 daily trips made by bus riders in the area every day.
Some of the bus riders in the meeting brought up concerns with the prospective new locations.
One man said he thought that the transit center should be on the corner of Southwest Military Drive and Interstate 37. Many other people in the room nodded.
“I bought a used car last semester, but it broke down,” Leticia Martinez, accounting junior at A&M-San Antonio, said. “I want to use the bus route as a back-up plan.”
Martinez was one of the only A&M-San Antonio students at the meeting.
Residents and VIA bus riders are encouraged to share their opinions for the new transit center on the VIA website.