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City of Newcastle Chooses Via to Expand its On-Demand Public Transport System

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The new service zone builds on the success of the existing Newcastle on-demand service in Lake Macquarie where patronage continues to grow over 5 percent each month. 

October 28, 2019 (NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA) — Via, the world’s leading provider and developer of public mobility solutions, today announced it will bring on-demand transport to yet another region of Newcastle, further optimizing the use of shared public transport by connecting the city’s central business district (CBD) to key transit hubs. 

Via launched Newcastle On Demand in January 2018 in partnership with the leading transport operator Keolis Downer, dynamically routing 20-seater buses completely on-demand. The rapid adoption caused Keolis Downer to more than double the service zone in June 2019, growing from 25 km2 to 56 km2, and serving an additional 27,000 residents in the city’s Lake Macquarie area.

Starting October 28, the service will expand once more, this time lead by the City of Newcastle as a part of its Smart City Program. Newcastle On Demand now gives inner-city residents a new option to reach key CBD locations, or to connect with other modes of transport such as the Newcastle Interchange, light rail, existing bus services, and Broadmeadow Station. 

“We’re thrilled to see the city continue to invest in Newcastle Transport On Demand, expanding its service zone to new neighborhoods for the second time in a matter of months,” said Daniel Ramot, co-founder and CEO of Via. “With this innovative, on-demand approach to public transport, Newcastle continues to be a model for modern and smart cities across Australia.”

Using the Newcastle On Demand app (iOS and Android), riders can now hail a six-passenger KIA Carnival or 11-passenger wheelchair-accessible VW Crafter directly from their smartphone. Via’s advanced algorithms enable multiple riders to seamlessly share the same vehicle to-and-from the CBD area. 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. 

Keolis Downer CEO, David Franks, said Newcastle On Demand is a dynamic public transport service that is tailored to meet individual community needs.

“Newcastle On Demand will be an easy, stress-free way to commute into the City in the morning and home in the evening,” Franks said. “Through the existing on-demand service in Lake Macquarie, and the other On Demand services we operate in Sydney, we have seen that these flexible transport options provide a great alternative to individual cars and encourage the use of shared mobility solutions. 

“Our Lake Macquarie On Demand service has over 5,000 passenger trips each month because customers love the personalized experience and the relationships they build with our drivers,” Franks added.

The service operates primarily for daily commuters, running Monday through Friday from 6:30-9 a.m. and between 3:30-6:30 p.m. Cost is $3.20 per trip. Customers can pay using their Opal card or credit/debit card.

Via operates Newcastle On Demand, along with other demand responsive transport networks throughout New South Wales including Cooee Busways, Keoride, and the autonomous vehicle, BusBot. That’s in addition to AT Local in Auckland, which recently announced a six-month service extension. 

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, digital network. Via now has more than 90 launched and pending partnerships 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, digital 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.