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Via Launches First On-Demand Deployment in Ontario with Sault Ste. Marie Transit Services

Sault Ste. Marie On-Demand aims to overhaul an underutilized fixed-route bus network with on-demand microtransit technology 

August 26, 2019 (SAULT STE. MARIE, ON) — Via, the world’s leading provider and developer of on-demand public mobility solutions, today announced a new public transportation deployment in partnership with Sault Ste. Marie Transit Services, a leading transit provider in Ontario, Canada. Starting September 8, passengers will be able to ride Sault Ste. Marie On-Demand, a new dynamically-routed shared transit network aiming to dramatically overhaul the area’s existing fixed-route bus system. 

Sault Ste. Marie On-Demand will initially operate on Sundays from 7:15 p.m. to midnight when ridership has historically been low on the existing fixed-route buses. Riders can hail a Sault Ste. Marie On-Demand bus in real-time to their desired stop, which allows more efficient utilization of city buses, rather than continuously driving on fixed-routes with little or no passengers. 

“We are thrilled to partner with the innovative team at The City of Sault Ste. Marie to bring Via’s technology to Ontario for the very first time,” said Daniel Ramot, co-founder and CEO of Via. “The new Sault Ste. Marie On-Demand service shows how public transportation and technology can work together to make a city smarter. 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.”

Using the Sault Ste. Marie On-Demand app, riders will be 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 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.

Sault Ste. Marie On-Demand allows riders to travel from one pre-existing established stop to another as requested. Once the bus arrives, passengers can proceed onto the bus and pay using their existing transit pass or cash. The app provides riders with notifications and messages, real-time vehicle tracking, and an opportunity for users to provide post-ride feedback. 

“This presents an excellent opportunity to run a pilot for on-demand services,” says Brent Lamming, Director of Community Services. “By implementing an on-demand transit technology system, the city intends to reduce the number of buses used to service the routes (presently nine), and improve service delivery by making more efficient use of resources.”

Commuters can use the service by downloading the Sault Ste. Marie On-Demand smartphone app powered by Via, available on iOS and Android, and available for download starting September 1. Users can book rides between the pre-existing Sault Ste. Marie Transit stops. 

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 60 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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