Simplified: About five months after taking over the contract to run the Sioux Area Metro, New York-based transit company Via is looking to shake things up with a new plan for new fixed routes and citywide on-demand service. Here's what you need to know about the SAM Reimagined plan.

Why it matters

  • The city has been looking at ways to improve the bus system for quite some time. In early 2023, the City Council heard a transit development plan that proposed decreasing the number of fixed routes and adding on-demand services – a strategy echoed in Via's plan, said Emily Shapiro, Sioux Falls general manager for Via.
  • The idea is to have fewer fixed routes that run more frequently supplemented by on-demand services that run citywide. Routes will also be more efficient, going out and back rather than in a loop, so riders won't have to wait as long to get to their stop, Shapiro added.
  • Additionally, fares are expected to say the same at $1.50 per ride. On-demand tickets won't transfer to fixed routes, and vice versa, but a $3 day pass works across both modes.
"We're not taking away services," Shapiro said. "We're going to be able to expand the reach of (Sioux Area Metro) to 100% of the city and 100% of the tax-paying residents. And we're able to do that within the current budget that was allotted for this year."

Tell me more about the proposed routes

The nine routes overlap quite a bit with existing bus routes when it comes to central Sioux Falls.

There are a few areas that are not a part of the fixed route proposal, including:

  • the University Center,
  • parts of Western Avenue, Kiwanis Avenue, and Phillips Avenue currently served by fixed routes,
  • and Hayward Elementary School.

Those areas would instead be served by on-demand transit.

"Nobody is losing service," Shapiro said.

Here's a (semi-helpful and totally not haphazardly screenshot) visual of the current routes (left) compared to the proposed routes (right).

What happens next?

Via is taking public input on the proposed fixed routes, with plans to implement the changed routes and full-city on-demand services in August.