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Via and LA Metro announce extension and expansion of shared ride service
First-and-last mile pilot shows strong results in expanding access to public transit
January 24, 2020 (LOS ANGELES)– Via, the leader in public mobility, was awarded an extension and expansion of its on-demand shared ride pilot program in partnership with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), following approval from Metro’s Board of Directors. The service utilizes Via’s sophisticated algorithm to expand access to public transit by dynamically routing shared vehicles to-and-from Metro stations in three zones– North Hollywood, El Monte and Compton.
Via will receive $2.2 million in funding for a six-month service extension, with the option for a second six-month renewal at $2.7 million. Service hours will also be expanded, including the introduction of weekend service.
The pilot was launched in January 2019, funded in part by a $1.35 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration for its Mobility on Demand Sandbox Demonstration program. The pilot was more than $500,000 under budget in its first year, allowing funding to be carried over to help fund the first six months of the extension.
Via provided more than 75,000 rides during the first year of service, exceeding overall goals for rides per week, rides per driver hour, wait time and customer satisfaction, with an average score of 4.85 out of 5 stars. More than 1,000 riders used Via’s call-in center, indicating that people without smartphones are using the service. The service provided more than 800 rides to passengers requiring special assistance or wheelchair accessibility at roughly a third of the cost to taxpayers of a traditional Access Services ride.
Following board approval, the service expansion of operating hours from 6 a.m. – midnight on weekdays, plus the inclusion of weekend service, will allow new riders to access affordable, efficient on-demand transit outside of their daily commute and at times when traditional modes of public transit are less available. Expanded service hours have proven successful a similar Via service in partnership with King County Metro in Seattle.
Via’s technology was designed to complement and extend existing public transit infrastructure and supports Metro’s goals to provide on-demand services to a wider audience and to connect riders to the growing Metro system without the use of a private car.
The program brings Via’s shared ride technology to low-income riders and riders with disabilities who might not otherwise be able to access mobility options to travel to-and-from major transit centers. Riders can either book a ride through the Via mobile app, or by calling Via’s call center, allowing riders without smartphones or translation needs to use the service. The Via service is fully wheelchair accessible.
Via’s technology seamlessly matches multiple passengers headed in a similar direction into a single vehicle through the use of “virtual bus stops”. All rides are free for and must be booked to-or-from one of Metro’s pre-determined rail or bus stations within the three zones.
Each ride with Via is booked as shared, ensuring that Metro furthers the goals set out in its Vision 2028 Strategic Plan to reduce single-occupancy car trips. This partnership also provides valuable data on how riders use the service, which will help Metro measure the success of this partnership and help inform future innovations such as Metro’s NextGen Bus Study and its MicroTransit Pilot Project.
Via is reimagining how the world moves, from regulated systems with rigid routes and schedules to fully dynamic networks. 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 2013, Via’s technology is now deployed globally, including in Europe as ViaVan. Today Via and ViaVan partner with nearly 100 public transportation agencies, private transit operators, taxi fleets, private companies, school districts, and universities, seamlessly integrating with transportation infrastructure to power cutting-edge mobility. For more information, visit ridewithvia.com.
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is building the most ambitious transportation infrastructure program in the United States and is working to greatly improve mobility through its Vision 2028 Plan. Metro is the lead transportation planning and funding agency for L.A. County and carries about 1.2 million boardings daily on a fleet of 2,200 low-emission buses and six rail lines.
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