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Sioux Falls City Council approves contract with new transit provider, Via

The unanimous vote means that Sioux Falls will enter into a five-year agreement with Via to take over all transit management services

December 6, 2023 (SIOUX FALLS, SD) — In an 8-0 decision Tuesday night, Sioux Falls City Councilors voted unanimously to approve a resolution authorizing the City of Sioux Falls to enter into a five-year agreement with Via to provide transit management services starting January 1, 2024.

“Thank you to the City Councilors for helping us reimagine transit in Sioux Falls through this partnership with Via. We look forward to the innovation they will bring to our community, particularly through technology,” said Jeff Eckhoff, Director of Planning and Development Services. “Although the contract was just approved, Via has been a committed partner since they were selected, ensuring they are ready to take over operations on January 1, 2024. Their focus has been on a smooth transition for the staff at Sioux Area Metro and our riders who rely on public transit every day.”

Throughout the last two months, the City and Via have communicated daily, with multiple Via team members visiting Sioux Falls regularly to learn about Sioux Falls, familiarize themselves with our current system, and work with Sioux Area Metro (SAM) staff. All current SAM employees will receive offers to continue employment, and the Via team is actively searching for a Sioux Falls-based general manager.

“We are extremely proud to partner with the City of Sioux Falls to help reimagine transit for the community and would like to thank the Sioux Falls City Council for supporting this vision,” said Alex Lavoie, co-chief operations officer at Via. “We have worked closely with the City over the past few months to get to know the community, the existing network, riders, and transit and City staff, and we look forward to helping to bring a technology-enabled and rider-centric approach to the Sioux Falls transit system in the coming years.”

Since the City’s current management agreement with First Transit/Transdev expires on December 31, 2023, the City issued a Request for Proposal in late June to solicit proposals to provide transit management services from a qualified, experienced, and innovative firm(s) interested in partnering with the City to comprehensively reimagine, plan, execute, and operate our public transit system. In September, the selection committee ranked Via the highest. Members of the selection committee included City staff from Planning and Development Services, Finance, and the Mayor’s Office, members of the Public Transportation Advisory Board (PTAB), and City Councilor Greg Neitzert. With the approval of the City Council Tuesday night, the agreement between the City of Sioux Falls and Via is effective January 1, 2024, through December 31, 2028, with the option of extending it five years based on several factors.

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About Via

Founded in 2012, Via pioneered the TransitTech category by using new technologies to develop public mobility systems — optimizing networks of buses, shuttles, wheelchair accessible vehicles, school buses, autonomous vehicles, and electric vehicles around the globe. Building the world's most efficient, equitable, and sustainable transportation network for all passengers — including those with limited mobility, those without smartphones, and unbanked populations — Via works with its partners to lower the costs of public transit while providing transportation options that rival the convenience of a personal car while reducing 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, providing technology in 650 communities and more than 35 countries and counting.