A joint venture between leading developer of dynamic desharing technology Via and Mercedes-Benz Vans have launched a new ‘electronically hailed’ shared ride service in London, offering travelers a new mobility option in the UK capital.
Through the ViaVan joint venture’s smartphone application, passengers will be seamlessly matched in real time with other riders headed their way, sharing their trip in a professionally chauffeured vehicle. Launching across Transport for London’s Zones 1 and 2, the service will provide travelers with an alternative to Uber, with the company promising to offer the lowest fares, better treatment of drivers and riders, and a corporate ethos that puts safety first. To mark the launch, for a limited time all ViaVan rides to or from Zone 1 will cost just £3 (US$4.21).
The service will be powered by Via’s world-renowned dynamic ride-pooling technology, which was developed initially for New York City, and has now provided more than 30 million shared rides globally, from Australia to California. This is the second city launch for ViaVan, following on the heels of its launch in Amsterdam last month. By grouping multiple passengers into a single shared vehicle, ViaVan reduces traffic congestion and emissions, providing an inexpensive, eco-friendly, and convenient transportation alternative. The company says that by offering the lowest prices in the city, ViaVan aims to ‘close the gap’, serving as an affordable extension to the public transit system. Riders and drivers will benefit from 24/7 real-time support, and drivers will take home more from every trip as ViaVan offers the lowest commission in London.
Using the ViaVan app, passengers select their pick-up and drop-off location and confirm their ride. Via’s smart algorithm enables multiple riders to seamlessly share a single vehicle. The technology directs passengers to a nearby corner, creating a ‘virtual bus stop’, for pick-up and drop-off, allowing for quick and efficient shared trips without lengthy detours that take riders out of their way. This enables ViaVan’s system to transport a high volume of passengers while using a fraction of the number of vehicles used by taxis or on-demand car services. By powering efficient ride sharing, ViaVan aims to reduce traffic and carbon emissions in London.
“Londoners deserve innovative transportation solutions that are safe, convenient and affordable,” said Chris Snyder, CEO of ViaVan. “We are a different kind of company: we have social responsibility built into our DNA. Our mission is to power truly dynamic mass transit systems, which reduce congestion in our cities while offering drivers the opportunity to earn a decent living. We are delighted to launch in London and to finally give Londoners an alternative to expensive and inefficient private car services.”
Luca Parducci, general manager of ViaVan London, commented, “Londoners are among the savviest of consumers, always looking for the right mix of quality, cost, convenience and social impact. Unlike competitors’ pooling solutions, we’re confident that ViaVan will be a huge hit; a comfortable and convenient way to get around that you can feel good about.