ViaVan launches new on-demand shared ride service


ViaVan has launched the third public sector deployment of its technology for on-demand shared rides in Germany in the City of Bielefeld.

The programme is a direct partnership with local public transit operator moBiel, and it represents the potential for using technology to complement and extend public transit infrastructure in cities of all sizes.

The service, called “Anton”, will ?complement and extend existing public transit infrastructure, providing affordable, efficient, and congestion-reducing access to transportation when and where public transit is less available. ViaVan, the joint-venture between Via and Mercedes-Benz Vans in Europe, was awarded the project following a competitive public procurement process by moBiel.

“?ViaVan is redefining mobility across Germany, seamlessly integrating with and extending public transit infrastructure in cities of all sizes to provide fully on-demand and dynamic transportation solutions,” said Chris Snyder, ViaVan CEO. “We are proud to partner with moBiel to provide residents of Bielefeld with a convenient, affordable, and congestion-reducing shared transportation option that creates a viable alternative to private car usage.”

Wheelchair-accessible, high-capacity Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans that accommodate up to eight passengers will operate in the service areas. Multiple passengers headed in a similar direction will be matched into a single vehicle by Via’s technology, a?nd will be dynamically routed in real-time. Via’s technology minimises detours through the use of “virtual bus stops”, or corner-to-corner service. The share ride approach reduces congestion and emissions while providing a highly-efficient rider experience.

Anton will be rolled out in two phases across two service zones: first, in Sennestadt on October 28, and in the coming months, in Jöllenbeck. In Sennestadt, Anton will fill the gaps of the existing service during evening hours Monday to Saturday, and all day Sunday, when public transit is less available. In Jöllenbeck, Anton will strengthen transportation across the service zone for more flexible travel.

ViaVan will integrate moBiel’s “Fahrplan” public transit route planner into the Anton app. The planner provides visibility for public transit riders to the most efficient method of transportation for their individual journey, whether through Anton or other public transit infrastructure.

“Anton is an intelligent, flexible and efficient system. Especially in busy residential areas it can also reduce emissions and noise. It optimally complements our bus and light rail system so that the Bielefeld outskirts can be better connected,” says Martin Uekmann, CEO of moBiel.

“We have to rethink mobility in Bielefeld, and Anton is an important building block here. I understand the offer as a modern form of environmentally-friendly carpooling,” said Jens Julkowski-Kepper, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of moBiel. “I’m interested to see how Anton will be received in Sennestadt.”

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