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Abu Dhabi launches free on-demand bus service for medical workers powered by Via in response to COVID-19

The city’s Integrated Transportation Centre (ITC) now provides a free microtransit shuttle service via the newly developed "Abu Dhabi Healthcare Link" app.

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April 7, 2020 (Abu Dhabi, UAE) — Via, the company that provides digital infrastructure to power public mobility in cities around the world, today launched a new on-demand essential transportation system in Abu Dhabi to provide free rides for medical workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Powered by Via and deployed in partnership with the leading transport operator United Trans and Abu Dhabi’s Integrated Transport Centre (ITC), of the Department of Municipalities and Transport (DMT), the city’s essential healthcare workers now have a safe and reliable way to travel between their home and place of work during the coronavirus public health crisis.

As an appreciation for healthcare workers through the city, Abu Dhabi Healthcare Link is completely free, courtesy of ITC. Employees simply enter a rider code provided by their hospital in the mobile app, and they’ll instantly be able to book a ride to and from their home and place of work. The new on-demand transportation service is available from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m., as fixed-route public transportation is scaled back as a preventative measure to limit the spread of coronavirus. 

Using the all-new Abu Dhabi Healthcare Link app (iOS and Android), medical employees will be able to hail a 14-seat Mercedes-Benz Sprinter directly from their smartphone. Via’s advanced algorithms will enable multiple riders to seamlessly share the vehicle, with a maximum of six healthcare workers allowed in one Sprinter to ensure adequate space for social distancing. Via’s powerful technology picks up multiple passengers in a seamless flow, allowing for quick and efficient shared trips without lengthy detours, or inconvenient fixed routes and schedules.

“Getting critical staff to work reliably and safely has never been more important,” says Daniel Ramot, co-founder and CEO of Via. “Digitally-enabled transport services like the Abu Dhabi Healthcare Link can play a key role in allowing public transport to adapt to demand amidst rapidly changing situations. We are proud to apply our technology and operational expertise to support essential mobility for critical healthcare workers in Abu Dhabi during these challenging times.”

The ITC adds it will study ridership closely, with plans to expand the new on-demand microtransit service to 24 hours a day should demand indicate broader service hours. Its expansion would support and complement existing transportation provided by hospitals.

Abu Dhabi Healthcare Link is deployed in partnership with the leading transportation provider United Trans, which has successfully completed projects with the RTA, Etihad Rail, Dubai Metro, Dubai International Airport, Al Maktoum International Airport, and Oman Airport Management Company. 

 “We feel incredibly honoured and grateful to partner with Via to develop this platform for the Abu Dhabi ITC. UAE has always led by example and this new service is no exception. We are going through unprecedented times, and we hope that this new service will support the healthcare staff that are tirelessly working round the clock to help save lives.” said Ahmad Bin Eisa Alserkal, Chairman of United Trans (member of Alserkal Group of Companies).

The ITC in Abu Dhabi now joins a number of high-profile transportation agencies turning to Via to help develop the next generation of public transportation, specifically during the COVID-19 pandemic. Cities like Berlin, Timaru, and Malta have each deployed similar on-demand emergency transportation services to quickly and efficiently transport essential workers and goods, like groceries and medical supplies. 

Via is now working with nearly 100 partners in more than 20 countries to help connect more people to transit including the Los Angeles Metro, Transport for London (TfL), Sydney’s Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW), and Berlin’s Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG). To learn more, visit www.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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