LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas –
Lackland transportation officials and the San Antonio VIA Metropolitan Transit have partnered to add three base bus stops on an express route which loops from base to the United Service Organization downtown.
Recent stops added to the Saturday-only route are both southbound and northbound Carswell Avenue at Truemper Street, and southbound on Craw Avenue, across from Chaparral Fitness Center near the Defense Language Institute. The new route also incorporates its only previous stop at the BMT reception center on Carswell, north of Selfridge.
Lackland transportation officials are hopeful the additional stops will increase VIA usage, which has dropped over the last two years from 500 riders a month to 150.
"We'll get VIA's numbers in July and hope the number (of riders) is up," said Todd Deane, vehicle operations element chief for the 802nd Logistics Readiness Squadron.
"The VIA service is not just for BMT," he said. "If you live in base housing, you can park securely (near one of the stops) and take a bus downtown for a reasonable cost."
The Lackland-USO express route is $2.50 one way. Transfers from the USO to other VIA destinations are an additional 15 cents.
Originally geared toward BMT graduates and their families, transportation officials are encouraging technical training, Inter-American Air Forces Academy, DLI students and anyone else on base to take advantage of the inexpensive VIA alternative.
"We have this service available and it runs every 20 minutes," Mr. Deane said. "If we increase ridership, we hope to add more services."
The first Lackland bus leaves at 9:20 a.m Saturday, and the last bus to base departs the USO downtown at 6:42 p.m., arriving at 7:10 p.m. Mr. Deane said increased bus usage from the base may lead to lengthened schedules and additional days to meet demand.
A VIA bus stop for Route 64 is also available outside the Lackland Training Annex gate. That stop is not part of the Lackland-USO express service but does connect to other VIA exchange hubs.
For more information on the Lackland-USO schedule, VIA Route 65, visit the VIA website at www.viainfo.net