The new partnership allows for dramatic growth of on-demand mobility in Japan
April 15, 2019 (Tokyo, Japan) — Via, the world’s leading provider and developer of on-demand shared mobility solutions, announced today a strategic partnership with ITOCHU Corporation and Mori Building Company. Following on the heels of the August 2018 launch of HillsVia, a commuter service for Mori employees, the new partnership will allow Via to rapidly expand its dynamic, on-demand transportation solutions and solve pressing transit issues across Japan.
“We are delighted for ITOCHU and Mori Building to join us as strategic partners and investors,” said Daniel Ramot, co-founder and CEO of Via. “ITOCHU’s bold vision to transform consumer experiences and mobility infrastructure and Mori Building’s success in innovating urban living make both companies invaluable partners as we work to provide cutting-edge mobility solutions that are smart, efficient, and help to reduce congestion and emissions in Japan.”
Via is able to seamlessly integrate with existing fixed-route transportation infrastructure, helping to fill in gaps where existing transit isn’t easily accessible. Via’s technology efficiently works to aggregate multiple passengers into shared vehicles, reducing single-occupancy vehicle trips, thus improving traffic congestion and curtailing carbon emissions. The easy-to-use mobile interface is suited to riders of all ages, including the elderly.
As one of the country’s largest general trading companies, ITOCHU has a deep understanding of the Japanese consumer market, leading the pack when it comes to investing in transformative technologies like Via that will both innovate transportation and solve local governments’ most pressing issues. Via’s technology and operational experience is uniquely suited to the Japanese market, where Via operates as Via Japan.
“We are excited to partner with Via to support a more convenient transportation system in Japan,” said Shunsuke Noda, ITOCHU Chief Digital & Information Officer. “We believe that Via’s cutting-edge solution will be widely accepted in the Japanese market through strategic partnerships with existing transportation operators.”
Leading Tokyo-based urban developer Mori Building began its partnership with Via in August 2018, developing the on-demand mobility HillsVia solution for travel between Mori Building properties, such as Roppongi Hills and Toranomon Hills. Using the Via-powered HillsVia mobile app, Mori Building employees can book rides in high-end V-Class vans provided by Mercedes-Benz to move amongst the properties. The program confirmed that Via’s solutions can be successfully applied to Japanese business customs and traffic conditions.
“Through our trial of HillsVia since last summer, we have experienced the usefulness of Via’s unique algorithm for urban lifestyle. Via’s solution will contribute to solving the problems of urban transportation such as traffic congestion and environmental pollution,” said Masahiko Ogasawara, a Director & Executive Managing Officer for Mori Building. “This service will improve city life by increasing transportation options in urban areas.”
In partnership with ITOCHU and Mori Building, Via aims to provide Japanese transportation companies and drivers with new technology that will both improve their organizational profitability, as well as solve social problems throughout Japan.
Via has been tapped by cities and transit authorities in more than 60 markets in 15 countries around the world, including several deployments in Asia. In addition to Mori’s corporate shuttle system, Via also powers a public transportation network to transform Angot in Indonesia in cooperation with PT. Teknologi Rancang Olah Nusantara (affiliated with Digiasia Bios), and two on-demand bus services in Singapore, including one with Singapore’s Land Transportation Authority. To learn more about Via, visit www.platform.ridewithvia.com.
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.
About ITOCHU Corporation
With 110 offices in 63 countries, ITOCHU, one of the leading sogo shosha, engages in domestic trading, import/export and overseas trading of various products such as textile, machinery, metals, minerals, energy, chemicals, food, general products, realty, information and communications technology, and finance, as well as business investment in Japan and overseas. ITOCHU Corporation was founded by Chubei Itoh in 1858 and now employs 4,380 people globally.
About Mori Building Company
Mori Building is an innovative urban developer based in Tokyo. The company is committed to maximizing the magnetic power of cities by creating and nurturing safe, sustainable and cosmopolitan urban centers based on its unique Vertical Garden City concept of high-rise centers for business, education, leisure and residence. The concept is applied in the company’s many leading-edge projects, including ARK Hills, Omotesando Hills, Roppongi Hills and Toranomon Hills in Tokyo and the Shanghai World Financial Center. Mori Building is also engaged in real estate leasing, project management and consultation. Please visit www.mori.co.jp/en