A VIA bus passes The Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio at the Pearl. Courtesy VIA Metropolitan Transit

By Sanford Nowlin | San Antonio Current

Beginning Saturday, San Antonio's VIA Metropolitan Transit stopped collecting fares for VIA fixed-route bus service, VIAtrans trips and VIA Link on-demand services.

According to a news release from the transit system, it's suspending all fares through 1 a.m. on April 1 in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. At that time, VIA will reevaluate and provide an update on how to proceed.

VIA President and CEO Jeffrey Arndt said the fare relief is among the steps the system is taking to provide safe service. Stopping the exchange of money maintains social distancing for bus operators, while giving financial relief for riders.

"We realize that public transit is a necessity for many in our community everyday, and perhaps especially during a crisis, including those whose work is essential during emergencies, or who may rely on transit as their only means of travel to workplaces, meal distribution sites, critical service centers, or other necessary trips," Arndt said.

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