November 30, 2020 (JERSEY CITY)-- Mayor Steven M. Fulop announces New Jersey’s first municipal-subsidized, on-demand shared ride service, Via Jersey City, is a major success for the community, breaking records in ridership and exceeding the city’s goals of effectively closing transit deserts in communities that need it most. At $2 a ride, ridership during the third quarter of the year (August 24-November 20) eclipsed pre-pandemic levels with a 78% increase in rides and growing. Due to demand, the city’s Via fleet was expanded from 17 to 26 vehicles, including electric vehicles.
Most Via riders originate from the west and south sides of Jersey City, with top destinations being key transportation hubs and shopping/business districts. In the third-quarter of the year, Ward F had the highest pickup requests (22,612) and the second highest dropoff requests (20,637).
“Despite launching right as the pandemic struck, Via Jersey City is breaking ridership records and connecting the exact communities we targeted with more affordable service to close transit gaps, increased access to jobs and education, improved connectivity, among countless other opportunities. The data shows our low income and diverse populations are benefiting most,” said Mayor Fulop. “Via is one of many examples of how we are addressing the most stubborn of issues that urban areas traditionally face by taking an outside-the-box approach to overcome these difficulties and improve quality of life for our community.”
“We partnered with Via to expand and improve transportation options throughout the city, with a focus on neighborhoods that had inadequate service. Via JC continues to meet and exceed our ridership, efficiency, and quality of service goals,” said Brian Platt, former Business Administrator.
The City set a goal of 1,000 completed rides per week when the service launched in February. With a peak of 1,200 rides completed in a single day, and more than 6,000 rides completed in the final week of November, Via Jersey City continues to break ridership records. Despite launching the innovative shared ride system as the pandemic struck the region, since the February launch, Via drivers have completed more than 138,000 rides, with high utilization rates and decreasing wait times.
Based on a survey, low income and minority groups make up a majority of Jersey City's Via riders. Preliminary results show that more than half of all participants make less than $50,000 a year. Additionally, the highest share of participants identify as Black or African American.
“The initial survey results speak to the success of Via Jersey City in serving the people who have historically been underserved by transit. We are committed to improving mobility in Jersey City by making it easy for residents to use more efficient and sustainable modes of transportation like Via,” said Barkha Patel, Director of Transportation Planning.
"Mayor Fulop and his team have set an example for municipalities across the country as they take on unprecedented social and economic challenges and work tirelessly to improve quality of life for those with the greatest need," said Daniel Ramot, CEO and co-founder of Via. "This starts with providing accessible and equitable public transportation, and we are proud to see the clear, positive impact that on-demand public transit, powered by Via's technology, is having on the community in Jersey City."
Via maximizes routing and connects riders seamlessly to their final destination, reducing trips taken by single-occupancy vehicles, and thereby significantly reducing the city’s carbon footprint. In fact, nearly 2,500 gallons of gas and 54,000 miles of driving was avoided in just the third quarter of this year. The fleet already has two electric vehicles, and there are plans to increase the number of electric vehicles in the upcoming years.
Amid the pandemic, the city’s partnership with Via extended beyond public transportation to ensure food security for vulnerable populations by recruiting Via drivers to deliver meals to families in need as the city experienced a 300% increase in demand for Meals on Wheels.
Founded in 2012, Via pioneered the TransitTech category by using new technologies to power public mobility systems, optimizing networks of dynamic shuttles, buses, wheelchair accessible vehicles, school buses, and autonomous vehicles around the globe. Building the world’s most efficient, equitable, and sustainable transportation network for all riders — including those with limited mobility, those without smartphones, and unbanked populations — Via works with its partners to lower the cost of public transit and provide accessible options that rival the convenience of a personal car at a much reduced environmental impact. At the intersection of transportation and technology, Via is a visionary market leader that combines software innovation with sophisticated service design and operational expertise to fundamentally improve the way the world moves, with 150 global partners on six continents, and counting.