Rideshare Startup Via to Launch First Ever On-Demand Public Transit System as Alternative to Bus Service in 2 U.S. Cities

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【Summary】Commuters in Arlington, Texas and West Sacramento, California may find it easier to get around, as both cities have selected New York based Via, a provider of dynamic on-demand shared rides, to launch a pioneering comprehensive on-demand public transit solution.

Original   Eric Walz  ·  Nov 08, 2017 12:52 PM PT
author: Eric Walz   

NEW YORK — Commuters in Arlington, Texas and West Sacramento, California may find it easier to get around, as both cities have selected New York based Via, a provider of dynamic on-demand shared rides, to launch a pioneering comprehensive on-demand public transit solution.

In Arlington, the new Via service will launch within a month, replacing the city's single-route bus service and offering transportation options in areas of Arlington where none existed before. In West Sacramento, Via is working closely with City staff to design a groundbreaking fully dynamic city-wide service that will complement other public transportation options.

Residents across both cities will soon be able to use the Via app to instantly book a seat in a shared, dynamically-routed vehicle. Via's sophisticated algorithm will instantly match passengers with others going their way in a vehicle following an optimized flexible route that minimizes detours and delays.

"In the city of the future, everyone will be getting around in dynamically-routed shared vehicles. We are excited to partner with these two innovative cities that share our vision, and help them provide the first ever fully on-demand public transit service," said Daniel Ramot, Co-founder and CEO of Via.

Via was selected through a competitive procurement process to provide a comprehensive turnkey solution, including its mobile apps and unparalleled operating system. Via will be working closely with the cities to develop and customize every aspect of the services, from operating hours and service zones to fare structure and wheelchair accessibility, and will share data with the cities to help with future urban planning and investments.

"The partnership with Via is a reaffirmation of West Sacramento's commitment to provide residents of all ages with access to an array of transportation options close to where they live, work and play," said City of West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon. "This initiative will not only save residents money on gas and parking, but will also provide cleaner air, reduce congestion and promote overall livability."

The new Via services will connect residents to jobs, healthcare, education, and entertainment, while reducing the number of single-occupancy vehicles on the road and minimizing congestion and pollution.

"For Arlington, Via's comprehensive ridesharing service is an exciting and innovative pilot project providing an alternative to a traditional fixed-route bus system, allowing us to provide a higher quality transportation option that is relevant to even more of our residents and visitors," Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams said.

"If a city wants to launch a new subway service or fixed-route bus system, the investment required would be many millions if not billions of dollars. With Via's solution, cities can now provide their residents with a city-wide transit system without any of the physical infrastructure costs and with minimal risk," said Zachary Wasserman, Via's Head of Global Business Development.

Service in Arlington, Texas will launch in early December following the Arlington City Council approval on November 7. Service in West Sacramento, California is expected to begin operating in the spring of 2018, pending City Council approval in December.

Via currently operates in New York, Chicago, and Washington DC, with rides starting at $5.

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