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ViaVan and WSW launch on-demand public transit service in Wuppertal, Germany

October 8, 2020 (WUPPERTAL)-- WSW Mobil GmBH (WSW) and ViaVan, Europe's leader in public mobility, announces the launch of an electrically-powered on-demand shared ride service in Wuppertal, Germany. WSW recently introduced hydrogen buses into the public transport system in Wuppertal, and the innovative mobility project with ViaVan is the next step in building the future of sustainable local transport offerings in the City.

The service, "Hol mich!" will operate in in selected districts of Wuppertal, including Uellendahl-Katernberg, Elberfeld, and Elberfeld West. More than 132,000 people live in the nearly 50 square kilometers service zone.

WSW sees on-demand traffic as a supplement to local public transport. “On-demand can be a solution for neighborhoods that were previously and inadequately connected by buses,” says WSW CEO Markus Hilkenbach.

"Hol mich!" Mobile App

Using the "Hol mich!" app (​iOS​ and ​Android)​, powered by technology from ViaVan, riders will be able to hail a shuttle directly from their smartphone by selecting a pick up and drop off location. ViaVan’s advanced algorithms will enable multiple passengers to seamlessly and safely share the same vehicle, directing passengers to a nearby virtual bus stop within a short walking distance for pick up and drop off, allowing for quick and efficient shared trips without lengthy detours. In line with public health guidelines, vehicle capacity will be restricted to a maximum of three passengers out of a total six seats at launch.

The service is completely digital, and through the app, passenger will also be able to pay for and track their ride, receive vehicle information, and an estimated time of arrival.

Passengers can pay for a ride through PayPal or a credit card, or with the local public transport tariff, AboTicket.

The service will operate Monday to Thursday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 6 a.m. to 3 a.m., and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Digital and flexible

The small size of the vehicles and flexibility of ViaVan's technology will enable WSW to expand access to public transport in areas that cannot be served by buses. "In connection with digital technology, we can provide our customers with an offer that is tailor-made for their mobility needs, and is flexible at the same time," said Ulrich Jaeger, WSW Mobil Managing Director.

ViaVan is Europe's leading provider of on-demand public transport solutions and already operates similar systems in cooperation with the transport companies in Berlin, Bielefeld, and Mainz.

"We are pleased to introduce on-demand public transport in Wuppertal in partnership with WSW, strengthening the local public transport system with a flexible new mobility offering," said Chris Snyder, CEO of ViaVan.

The service will operate until the end of 2021, and the partners share the goal to use learnings from the on-demand transport service in Wuppertal to introduce digital mobility solutions in other municipalities. The taxi center in Wuppertal is also closely involved in the project.

With the new service, WSW is participating in the "Bergisch Smart Mobility" research project with the Cities of Wuppertal, Solingen, and Remscheid, The Bergische Universität in Wuppertal, The Bergische Structural and Economic Development Company, and APTIV Services.