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Via Launches ‘COTA Plus’ On-Demand Transit in Partnership with Central Ohio Transit Authority

COTA Plus is Via’s first microtransit deployment in the greater Columbus area, living up to the city’s “Smart Columbus” initiative. 

July 18, 2019 (Columbus, Ohio) — Via, the world’s leading provider and developer of on-demand public mobility solutions, today announced a new public transportation deployment in partnership with the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA), a leading Ohio public transit provider. Called COTA Plus, the new on-demand shared transit network brings dynamic rides to Grove City, a community outside of Columbus experiencing rapid growth and increased need for connections to COTA’s existing fixed-transit system.

“We are thrilled to partner with our innovative partners at COTA to bring Via’s technology to the Columbus area,” said Daniel Ramot, co-founder and CEO of Via. “The COTA Plus service shows how public transportation and technology can work together to make a city smarter. Grove City residents now have a comfortable, convenient, and affordable way to move around. This is truly a great example of a city embracing the future of mobility.”

Developing the future of public transportation with the COTA Plus app comes not long after Columbus competed against 77 cities nationwide to win the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge. The DOT tasked Columbus with developing an “integrated, first-of-its-kind smart transportation system that would use data, applications, and technology to help people and goods move more quickly, cheaply, and efficiently.” Now three years later, COTA’s on-demand deployment in Grove City is yet another embodiment of the region’s dedication to developing the city of tomorrow.

Using the COTA Plus app, riders are able to hail a shuttle directly from their smartphone. Via’s advanced algorithms will enable multiple riders to seamlessly share the vehicle. The powerful technology will direct passengers to a nearby virtual bus stop within a short walking distance for pick up and drop off, allowing for quick and efficient shared trips without lengthy detours, or inconvenient fixed routes and schedules.

“There is increased demand for greater mobility options across many of our Central Ohio communities, including Grove City,” said Joanna M. Pinkerton, President/CEO of COTA. “COTA Plus was designed with input from multiple stakeholders, including the city and area businesses, who have identified mobility challenges as a barrier to employment, healthcare, and education. We are proud to pilot this innovative service under the unique COTA Plus brand, and to work with public and private entities in the future to solve mobility challenges.”

Commuters can use the service by downloading the COTA Plus smartphone app powered by Via, available on iOS and Android, or even by calling (614) 308-4400. Users can book rides anywhere within the defined zone in Grove City. The on-demand deployment connects riders to the Southpark Industrial Park, the Mid-Ohio Foodbank and the new Mount Carmel Grove City Hospital. 

“COTA and Grove City have a long history of working together and successfully addressing the ever-changing transportation needs of our growing community,” said Mayor Richard L. “Ike” Stage. “The COTA Plus program is an innovative and welcome pilot for our current mobility challenges, further illustrating the strength of our partnership.” 

Customers who book a trip with COTA Plus will not pay additional fare if connecting to fixed-route service (COTA Lines 3 & 61). If a customer books a COTA Plus trip point-to-point without using COTA bus service, they will pay a $3 fare. All COTA Plus fare must be paid through the app. Cash will not be accepted by the operator. 

Via has been tapped by cities and transportation players around the world to help re-engineer public transit from a regulated system of rigid routes and schedules to a fully dynamic, on-demand network. Via now has more than 80 launched and pending deployments in nearly 20 countries, providing more than sixty million rides to date. To learn more about Via, visit www.platform.ridewithvia.com.

About Via
Via is re-engineering public transit, from a regulated system of rigid routes and schedules to a fully dynamic, on-demand network. Via’s mobile app connects multiple passengers who are headed the same way, allowing riders to seamlessly share a premium vehicle. First launched in New York City in September 2013, the Via platform operates in the United States and in Europe through its joint venture with Mercedes-Benz Vans, ViaVan. Via’s technology is also deployed worldwide through dozens of partner projects with public transportation agencies, private transit operators, taxi fleets, private companies, and universities, seamlessly integrating with public transit infrastructure to power cutting-edge on-demand mobility. For more information, visit www.platform.ridewithvia.com.

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