..or, Say, this reminds me:
A few months ago, my wife and I invited our daughter and her husband, who live just north of Alamo Heights High School, to join us for dinner at a restaurant in the Pearl Brewery. They told us they would do their own transportation, and they arrived at the restaurant very excited. Instead of driving down Broadway, they had taken a bus, and our daughter raved about what a lovely ride it had been and that it cost the two of them less than $2. She was truly enthralled by this experience which so pleasantly surprised them.
The bus they rode was one of the newer ones being used by VIA. Its ambiance and fare raise a dramatic question:
Why in the world would we want to spend $280 million and tie up our city for years of construction to produce a new transportation system when we can obviously operate and enjoy the one with the assets we already have in place?
Good question. Sabra and I were talking about this on Thursday. We were out and about in the Medical Center area (on the city’s near-northwest side, for you non-locals), and we saw one of the buses from the Via Primo route 100 that runs up and down Fredericksburg Road between downtown and the main UTSA campus on the far northwest side of town. Just for the sake of comparison, the regular buses look like this:
The Primo route buses, on the other hand, look like this:
Pretty snazzy, right? If I remember right, they have wifi as well just like the express busses that run up and down IH-10 and 35 and Highway 281 and the original plan was that they were supposed to be able to control the traffic lights, ensuring a rapid route between UTSA and downtown. That part of it never panned out for some reason.
We were thinking, though, that such a mode would be much preferable to the streetcars — as, just to cite two things, you wouldn’t have to tear up main thoroughfares into the downtown area and you could change the route as needed, whereas with the streetcars once you have that track laid, if that route turns out to have low ridership that VIA would use to justify a bus route change, you’re just shit out of luck.
But Nelson Wolff’s just gotta have his choo-choo train, everything else be damned.