One of Toyota’s greatest passions is solving problems.
So, when Toyota’s San Antonio vehicle assembly plant (TMMTX) partnered with the company’s Inclusive Mobility team and the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) to conduct a mobility assessment in the San Antonio, Texas, community and the surrounding region, they discovered a problem they knew they could improve.
The Problem: Lack of Public Transportation in Southern San Antonio
Toyota’s employees, on-site suppliers and local students lacked direct public transportation from West San Antonio to the south side of San Antonio, where the manufacturing center is located. This created a major hurdle for those commuting to TMMTX for work, training or internships and impacted the greater community.
Through Toyota Way thinking, the Inclusive Mobility team inventoried existing transportation resources and pinpointed ways to meet workforce readiness needs. They learned the majority of TMMTX employees and suppliers live to the west of the facility, an area currently with no existing direct transport options.
In addition to workers traveling to jobs on the southern side of San Antonio, students from low-income communities attending Texas A&M University - San Antonio and Palo Alto College lacked transportation from Southern San Antonio and Northwest San Antonio to their campuses.
The Solution: VIA Metropolitan Transit
With the opening of a VIA Metropolitan Transit Link on-demand zone on the south side of San Antonio, customers can book trips outside of a fixed route.
Passengers can travel anywhere in the designated zone with transfer points to connect with the full VIA system. This flexibility provides better frequency, decreases travel times and minimizes walking distances. Plus, it offers more pick-up and drop-off locations, contributing to greater access to opportunity and helping to support stability in the community.
The VIA Link on-demand zone provides service connecting a 12.52 -square-mile area, including VIA’s Madla Transit Center, Palo Alto College, Texas A&M University-San Antonio, South San High School, South Park Mall shopping and medical centers and TMMTX, replacing fixed routes in the zone with more frequent service for the same fares as the regular bus service.
Trips can be booked using a free app, online portal, or by phone. The average pickup time is within 10-20 minutes of booking—an improvement from the current wait times for bus service—and users can track and rate their rides.