An SA City Council Member Is Learning What It's Like To Rely On The Bus

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District 4 Councilman Rey Saldaña is learning about the challenges people who rely on public transit face everyday. - COUNCILMAN REY SALDAÑA
  • Councilman Rey Saldaña
  • District 4 Councilman Rey Saldaña is learning about the challenges people who rely on public transit face everyday.
After District 4 Councilman Rey Saldaña posted this photo to social media, one of his constituents told him long bus rides were their reality. - COUNCILMAN REY SALDAÑA
  • Councilman Rey Saldaña
  • After District 4 Councilman Rey Saldaña posted this photo to social media, one of his constituents told him long bus rides were their reality.

As anyone who regularly uses public transit knows, catching a bus to and from work or to run errands can be difficult.

There's the heat. And now, since rain has apparently decided to come back to Texas, precipitation is another obstacle.

And then there's the wait. 

District 4 Councilman Rey Saldaña decided to take the bus June 5 to meet his wife for dinner.

"Travel Time= 51 Nogalitos Bus: 1 hour 35 mins, By car: 15 mins. Would not mind a ride share option," the councilman wrote on Facebook

During today's City Council meeting, Saldaña used a point-of-privilege to explain that after posting the photo, someone sent him a message that caught his attention.

"A constituent said, 'That’s cute, you took the bus once. That’s something I don’t have a choice about,'" Saldaña said. "They went on to tell me about how in some cases, it is tough to transport from the South Side of San Antonio where it takes an hour and 50 minutes to get to that persons place of employment, which was Hyatt downtown."

So on Monday, Saldaña decided to challenge himself and rely on VIA Metropolitan Transit, putting the organization to the test.

"After posting a picture of myself riding the bus on a single day, a resident explained how difficult it can be to keep a job, make medical appointments, or go grocery shopping when you have no vehicle and rely on the bus everyday—or one vehicle for multiple working family members. It's time to put San Antonio's public transit to the test," Saldaña said in a Facebook post.

But just as he's putting VIA Metropolitan Transit to the test, going carless and relying on public transportation is teaching the councilman a few things, too.

"What did I learn from today's bus ride? Blazing heat is better than torrential rain. Bonus: an umbrella is always a good idea," Saldaña said on Facebook.

We're not sure how long his challenge will last, but have reached out to the councilman to ask.

During Thursday's City Council meeting, Saldaña pointed out that today is National Dump the Pump Day. The event's goal is to raise awareness about how public transportation is a great way to save money, move safely and improve the environment.

"This is the 10th annual Dump the Pump Day to encourage people to leave cars in the driveway and explore public transit in San Antonio," Saldaña said.

And if you have some thoughts on the effectiveness of our city's public transportation, VIA Metropolitan Transit wants to know.

"Vision 2040 is a community-driven process with many opportunities for members of the public to provide us with input and suggestions," VIA President/CEO Jeff Arndt said in early June. "This online survey is a great way for people to get involved in planning the future, and we are promoting it with a public outreach effort that includes social media, online content, and many community events."

So sound off if you want. Here's a link to the survey. 

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