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LA Metro and Via Join Forces to Offer Shared Rides to Select Transit Stations
LA residents will have a new, affordable, equitable, and accessible option to connect to major train and bus stations, thanks to a new partnership between the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and Via, the world’s leading technology developer and provider of on-demand shared rides. The project is funded in part by the largest federal grant of its kind – a $1.35 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for advanced technology to help bridge the first/last mile gap.
Using the Via app, passengers will be able to instantly book a seat in a shared, dynamically-routed vehicle to or from three major Metro stations. Via’s sophisticated algorithm will instantly match passengers with others going their way in a vehicle following an optimized flexible route that minimizes detours and delays.
Via will collaborate closely with Metro’s Office of Extraordinary Innovation to expand LA’s mobility menu, improving access to public transportation, and providing an affordable, equitable, and accessible way to Go Metro.
The new Metro-Via service will be:
> Shared. Via’s revolutionary algorithm will seamlessly connect passengers with others going their way.
> Affordable. Via’s always-affordable fares will also be subsidized by Metro.
> On-Demand. Customers will be able to request a ride to and from participating transit stations either by using Via’s smartphone app or by calling a call-center.
> Dynamic. Via’s optimized flexible routing avoids unnecessary detours and delays.
> Accessible. Customers with disabilities, including those with service animals, wheelchairs, or other mobility aids or who need additional assistance to board or alight will be able to request rides that meet their needs.
> Integrated. Riders will have the option of paying for their rides using a credit card or their TAP account.
“Via’s shared ride technology is perfect for connecting more people to public transit. Metro is committed to offering innovative services to the public, and we are excited to help Metro solve the first and last mile challenge and help millions of new passengers take advantage of other public transportation options,” said Daniel Ramot, Co-founder and CEO of Via.
“Metro is committed to expanding mobility options in Los Angeles County by leveraging Via’s innovations and expertise in offering dynamic shared rides,” said Joshua Schank, Chief of Metro’s Office of Extraordinary Innovation. “Our project with Via demonstrates that there is potential to align public and private sector interests to improve mobility and provide a public benefit through ensuring that rides are affordable, equitable, and accessible for all of our customers.”
“We’re making our systems more inclusive — because access to public transportation is a right, not a privilege,” said Metro Chair and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Everyone should be able to make a trip on Metro buses and trains, and these funds will help more riders get where they’re going quickly and conveniently.”
The Mobility On-Demand project is expected to begin in summer 2018.
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 dynamically-routed vehicle. First launched in New York City in September 2013, the Via platform currently operates in New York City, Chicago, and Washington DC, providing over 1.5 million rides per month, and is growing rapidly. Via also licenses its revolutionary on-demand transit technology to transportation operators, and partners with cities and transit authorities globally.
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is unique among the nation’s transportation agencies. Created in 1993, Metro is a multimodal transportation agency that transports about 1.3 million passengers daily on a fleet of 2,200 clean air buses and six rail lines. The agency oversees bus, rail, highway, and other mobility-related building projects and leads transportation planning and programming for Los Angeles County.
About the MOD Sandbox Program
The MOD Sandbox Program is part of a larger effort at the FTA to support transit agencies and communities to integrate new mobility tools like smart phone apps, bike- and car-sharing, and demand-responsive bus and van services. MOD projects help make transportation systems more efficient and accessible, particularly for people who lack access to a car. Think of the “Sandbox Program” as an opportunity for transit agencies to explore new models and unknowns within some confines.