Via is a worldwide ride-hailing service that focuses on first and last mile efforts for public transportation. If an urban area doesn't have public transportation, the platform will operate as the area's shuttle service. The company teams with public transit services and meets a city's requirements and conducts the platform as a separate arm of public transportation.
All cities or campuses have their unique transportation problems. Some residential areas are transit deserts, where residents feel beholden to their private vehicles to get around. Some residents can’t afford a car, don’t have a smartphone, or the technological literacy to download an app. Late at night on college campuses, students don’t want to wait for a shuttle, so they walk home, which can be unsafe. Via believes that all residents need affordable and efficient methods of transit, and since bus-ridership is waning, it’s rethinking the efficiency and reach of public transportation.
Since 2013, Via has joined forces with 80 cities and partners, including the Los Angeles Metro, Transport for London, Sydney’s Transport for New South Wales, and Berlin’s Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe. Headquartered in New York City, Via has raised $387 million in venture capital.
Just recently, the Buckhead Community Improvement District announced a one-year $607,000 contract with Via. This would make the first microtransit system in the Atlanta area. Via has yet to publish a release with further details.
The City of Birmingham, Alabama and the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham also announced a new partnership with Via. Starting in December, the six-month pilot will provide “affordable, convenient and reliable transportation options for residents,” said Daniel Ramot, co-founder and CEO of Via. The service costs a low flat fee of $1.50 for Birmingham residents.
The City of Birmingham will pay $250,000, and the Community Foundation will pay $502,000 to launch the software and shuttles for the pilot program.
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