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Via Japan Announces BlueVia, Bringing On-Demand Transit to ITOCHU’s Global Headquarters in Tokyo

The new service in cooperation with Nihon Kotsu Co., Ltd. allows employees to hail a BlueVia ride on-demand during their daily commutes and between meetings.

September 24, 2019 (TOKYO) — Via, the world’s leading provider and developer of on-demand public mobility solutions, today announced its new service BlueVia in partnership with ITOCHU Corporation, one of Japan’s largest general trading companies. BlueVia brings on-demand, dynamically routed transportation to ITOCHU’s global headquarters in Tokyo, enabling thousands of the company’s employees to hail a free, shared shuttle during daily commutes and for off-site meetings. 

Starting October 1, ITOCHU employees can use the BlueVia app (iOS and Android) to hail a free shuttle on-demand directly from their smartphones. Via’s advanced algorithms enable multiple riders to seamlessly share the vehicle, delivering riders to their destinations along an optimized route while reducing traffic and carbon emissions caused by single-passenger vehicles. After requesting a ride, the powerful technology directs 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.

“We are thrilled to deepen our ties with ITOCHU Corporation by providing employees with a more efficient, convenient, and comfortable way to commute,” said Daniel Ramot, co-founder and CEO of Via. “ITOCHU’s bold vision to transform consumer experiences and mobility infrastructure makes the company an invaluable partner as we work to provide cutting-edge mobility solutions that are smart, efficient, and help to reduce congestion and emissions in Japan.”

BlueVia operates in cooperation with Nihon Kotsu Co., Ltd., one of Japan’s largest taxi companies. Employees can request a ride in the nearly 8-square-mile service zone in Central Tokyo around Minato-ku surrounding ITOCHU’s headquarters. BlueVia operates weekdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

In its medium-term management plan “Brand-new Deal 2020,” ITOCHU is working to promote the evolution of its business model with new technologies like on-demand mobility as part of efforts to become a next-generation merchant. Through this initiative, ITOCHU will both reduce costs and support the widespread adoption of on-demand ride sharing services in Japan. By partnering with Nihon Kotsu Co., Ltd., Via Japan and ITOCHU are demonstrating a future where taxi corporations and technology companies can work together to evolve mobility in Japan.

The new service follows on the heels of the August 2018 launch of HillsVia, a commuter service for Mori Building Company, and Via’s first mobility deployment in Japan. The one-year pilot program allowed Mori employees to travel between Mori properties, such as Roppongi Hills and Toranomon Hills. The successful deployment lead to a strategic partnership with Mori and ITOCHU in April 2019, officially forming Via Japan.

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 more than 20 countries. 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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