24 March 2020 (BERLIN) — ViaVan, Europe’s leader in public mobility solutions, and Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG), are partnering to transform the BerlKönig, Berlin's on-demand shared ride service, into a dynamic public transit service for Berlin's essential healthcare workers during the coronavirus public health crisis.
From March 25 to April 19, the BerlKönig will suspend regular operations, and the service will exclusively provide free on-demand rides for medical and nursing staff during night-time hours. Authorized healthcare workers will be asked to provide documentation to register for the service.
“Getting critical staff to work reliably and safely has never been more important,” says Chris Snyder, CEO of ViaVan. “Digitally-enabled transport services like the BerlKönig 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 Berlin during these challenging times.”
“With our large buses and trains we offer all Berliners who still need to be mobile in this difficult situation, a reliable and stable offer,” says Dr. Rolf Erfurt, Chief Operating Officer of BVG. “Healthcare workers, doctors and nurses are also currently delivering top performance. For that we say thank you with our BerlKönig special trips!"
During this time, the BerlKönig will operate from 9 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. in an expanded zone, transporting workers during shift changes when and where transport is needed most. The service area includes the entire S-Bahn ring and an extension to the city outskirts to include additional hospitals. Rides will be limited to three passengers per vehicle, to allow for proper social distancing, in line with public health recommendations.
More information about BerlKönig special trips for essential healthcare workers will be announced shortly via the BerlKönig app and www.berlkönig.de.
Faced with the current crisis, cities and public transit authorities across the world are actively seeking flexible mobility solutions to help critical employees get to work safely. The partnership between ViaVan and BVG demonstrates how technology-enabled solutions can swiftly step in to utilize existing infrastructure to provide safe, reliable, and efficient mobility services for essential workers, while complementing existing public transit systems.
ViaVan is partnering with municipalities, public transit agencies, healthcare organizations and nonprofits around the world to help utilize existing transit infrastructure during this time of emergency. ViaVan’s services include consulting to help quickly optimize transit networks to address immediate needs, and technology and operational expertise to help get essential workers where they need to go, and to bring goods, pharmaceuticals, and services to people - where they are.
ViaVan is the leading provider of innovative on-demand shared transit services in Europe. ViaVan was founded in 2017 as a joint venture between Via, the world’s most sophisticated developer of dynamic shared ride technology, and Mercedes-Benz Vans, the leading manufacturer of iconic passenger and cargo vans. Working closely with cities and public transit operators, ViaVan powers dynamic mobility services that complement existing transportation infrastructure. ViaVan operates direct-to-consumer services in London, Amsterdam and Milton Keynes, and on-demand services in partnership with major public transit authorities, including the BerlKönig with Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG). Through their partnership, Mercedes-Benz Vans and Via are also collaborating on the development of advanced mobility solutions, from sensor technology, to electric vehicle fleet management, to autonomous driving. With more than 100 launched and pending deployments in 20 countries, Via and ViaVan have provided more than 80 million rides to date. For more information, visit www.viavan.com.