Via, a New York-based provider of ride services and transportation technology for transit agencies and companies, has announced the launch of BVG Muva, a new on-demand public transport offering and service provider to Berlin’s public transport company Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG).
BVG Muva, powered by software from Via, will expand access to efficient, equitable, and sustainable transportation for the improvement of connectivity and passengers needing barrier-free transportation in Berlin.
While Berlin is already known for its leading public transportation network, there is a critical need to expand access to efficient, equitable, and sustainable transport options that incentivize model shift away from private vehicle use, enable suburban and rural communities to reach core transit hubs at the touch of a button, and address inclusivity in transport for those with accessibility challenges.
With these challenges in mind, BVG Muva will tackle two distinct but overlapping use cases. The “Flexible Ride” use case connects riders to public transportation in an underserved area, while the “Elevator Replacement” use case tackles the issue of inaccessibility at public transit stations.
These services will complement and extend existing public transport infrastructure in Berlin by filling the gaps in transit where it is needed and enabling passengers needing barrier-free transportation in Berlin to access public transport hubs in a more convenient and flexible way. The service will also include electric vehicles to further combat climate change.
The Flexible Ride will run 24/7 in a 60km2 service area in East Berlin, focusing on first-and-last mile trips to main transportation hubs by collecting passengers at a nearby bus stop or at a “virtual bus stop”. Trips to-and-from public transportation stations will be at a reduced fare. As an on-demand service, Via’s algorithms will bundle journeys by matching multiple passengers into a single vehicle in real time, with the goal to reduce congestion on Berlin’s streets and limit environmental impact.
Meanwhile, the Elevator Replacement is designed to ensure equal access to public transport for those with limited mobility. The service will enable passengers who depend on the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, and regional trains to take on-demand transport by connecting them between two stations when, for example, the train station doesn’t have an elevator, or where an elevator is currently out of service. This on-demand service will be available to book through a mobile app or by phone.
“We are proud to continue Via’s long-term partnership with BVG to introduce BVG Muva that will ensure residents across Berlin have efficient and equal access to mobility,” said Chris Snyder Via’s co-COO and Europe CEO. “While cities around the world face challenges including congestion, lack of transportation equity, and increasing transportation emissions, BVG Muva is an example of innovative public transport solutions powered by technology that can begin to tackle these issues directly.”
BVG Muva is Via’s third service in partnership with the leading transportation authority in Berlin. Prior to the launch of BVG Muva, Via’s software powered the BerlKönig, which successfully served more than 1.85 million passengers in Berlin and helped to reduce private vehicle use and environmental impact from transportation.