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Shared ride service launches in London

The service is powered by Via’s dynamic ride-pooling technology which was initially developed for New York City

Passengers request a ride using the ViaVan app on their phone
Passengers request a ride using the ViaVan app on their phone

ViaVan, the joint venture between shared ride technology company, Via, and Mercedes-Benz Vans, has launched a shared ride service in London. Passengers use the ViaVan app to be matched in real time with other riders headed their way and share their trip in a professionally-chauffeured vehicle.


The service is launching across zones 1 and 2 of the UK capital and aims to provide Londoners with an alternative to Uber. To mark the launch, for a limited time all ViaVan rides to or from zone 1 will cost £3.


"Londoners deserve innovative transportation solutions that are safe, convenient, and affordable," said Chris Snyder, CEO of ViaVan. "ViaVan is a different kind of company: we have social responsibility built into our DNA. Our mission is to power truly dynamic mass transit systems, which reduce congestion in our cities while offering drivers the opportunity to earn a decent living.”


The service is powered by Via’s dynamic ride-pooling technology, which was developed initially for New York City, and which has provided more than 30 million shared rides globally, from Australia to California. This is the second city launch for ViaVan, following its launch in Amsterdam last month.


Using the ViaVan app, passengers select their pick-up and drop-off location and confirm their ride. ViaVan’s smart algorithm enables multiple riders to seamlessly share a single vehicle. The technology directs passengers to a nearby corner – “a virtual bus stop” – for pick up and drop off, allowing for quick and efficient shared trips without lengthy detours that take riders out of their way.


This enables ViaVan’s system to transport a high volume of passengers while using a fraction of the number of vehicles utilised by taxis or on-demand car services. By powering efficient ride-sharing, ViaVan will reduce traffic and carbon emissions in London.


By grouping multiple passengers into a single shared vehicle, ViaVan reduces congestion and emissions, providing an inexpensive, eco-friendly, and convenient transportation alternative. It claims to offer the lowest prices in the city and aims to "close the gap," serving as an affordable extension of the public transit system. Riders and drivers will benefit from 24/7 real-time support and ViaVan also claims drivers will take home more from every trip as it offers the lowest commission in London.


"Londoners are amongst the savviest of consumers, always looking for the right mix of quality, cost, convenience, and social impact," said Luca Parducci, general manager of ViaVan London.


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.


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