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Word on the street: Chicago congestion, BCG on-demand report, and other transit news

  •   3 min read




Welcome to the first edition of Word On the Street, a new periodic update developed by the leading minds at Via. We care deeply about the transportation industry, but in today’s news cycle, a lot of the most important headlines are lost in the shuffle.

Once a quarter, we’ll update you on the key issues we’re watching, provide some useful tools and insights, highlight our favorite headlines, and tell you where to meet us around the globe.

And listen, we get it. You may be thinking, “Another newsletter?” That’s why we’re keeping it brief and only mentioning the important stuff. Scroll down, take a peek, and if you still think four emails a year is too much, there’s a handy “Unsubscribe” button for you waiting at the bottom.

However if you do love this newsletter, please share the Word and forward it to your friends. Just have them hit the big blue button at the top to “Subscribe.”

Team Via


What We’re Watching

CONGESTION CONUNDRUM IN CHICAGO: The Mayor of Chicago recently proposed changing the way ride hailing services are taxed, including a new congestion surcharge for trips to-and-from downtown.

Our Take: It’s great that Chicago recognizes the difference between single passenger and shared trips in its tax proposal, and we hope that it uses some of the new revenue to provide new options in underserved communities. However, it doesn’t make sense to impose a “congestion” fee on pooled rides that reduce traffic and emissions while people who drive by themselves or take other car services alone are charged nothing. Read more from CBS.

BERLIN EMBRACES MaaS: Berlin’s new app Jelbi marks one of the first major cities to go all-in on “mobility as a service,” encouraging residents to use every form of urban transport — except their private car.

Our Take: We applaud anything that gets drivers out of single-occupancy vehicles. Now residents can take anything from a scooter to the Berlkönig, all using a single app. Reuters has the scoop.

JAPAN’S RACE TO RIDESHARING: Despite being the world’s third largest economy, ridesharing is still banned in Japan, and the world’s biggest players are vigorously trying to crack the market.

Our Take: America’s version of ridesharing may not work in Japan, but integrating on-demand technology with existing transit providers — especially in rural areas not linked to the Shinkansen — may be just the ticket for the country’s aging population. Read more on This Week in Asia.




BCG Report: On-Demand Transit Can Help Solve the Urban Mobility Conundrum

A new study by Boston Consulting Group takes a close look at on-demand microtransit. Results decidedly showed that “on-demand transit services work,” with the potential to reduce traffic by 15-30% while providing a more efficient and comfortable way of traveling.

Researchers studied four unique on-demand transit projects over the course of a year, analyzing whether microtransit lived up to the hype. They found that cities facing declining public transportation usage and increasing traffic gridlock now have a viable solution proven to decrease congestion, reduce pollution, increase economic mobility, and get people out of private vehicles.

Read the in-depth findings in the report summary below:

On-Demand Transit Can Help Solve the Urban Mobility Conundrum

Link to blog





News At Via 

NYC’s school buses will now be automatically routed and tracked using Via’s algorithm.

Fast Company
Via is launching an on-demand public transit network in the city of Cupertino.

Via Transportation CEO Ramot Sees Big Money in Buses.

VIDEO: Seattle has a new transit experiment. We put it to the test.

Via launches first UK electric fleet in Milton Keynes



Via to kick off autonomous ride-hailing in Irvine, CA.

Smart Cities Dive

Partner News

Building the next generation of shared transportation is keeping us extremely busy. We announced our first major venture into the school bus industry by partnering with the New York City Department of Education — the largest school district in North America — to dynamically route its nearly 10,000 school buses. And did you hear about our new fleet of on-demand autonomous vehicles in Irvine?

We also announced upcoming microtransit services in Jersey City, Birmingham and Atlanta. That’s combined with officially flipping the “on” switch at our new deployments in Cupertino, Tokyo, Northwestern University, Northeastern University, Helsinki, Canada, and major expansions in both Austin and Australia.

From launching the first fully electric fleet in the UK to paratransit to university safe ride programs to corporate employee microtransit shuttles, Via is transforming the way the world moves.

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