ViaVan, the joint venture between Via, an on-demand shared transit service, and Mercedes-Benz Vans, announced the launch of its shared ride service in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire. This is the fourth city launch for ViaVan, following on the heels of its successful debut in Amsterdam and London earlier this year and its partnership with Berlin’s public transit authority, BerlinerVerkehrsbetriebe (BVG).
“ViaVan was formed to re-engineer urban transit in Europe,” said Chris Snyder, CEO of ViaVan. “Milton Keynes is an innovation-forward city and we’re delighted to launch this ground-breaking on-demand service, providing residents with a convenient, affordable, and congestion-reducing dynamic transportation alternative.”
The service will utilise Via’s sophisticated algorithm to dynamically route Mercedes-Benz Vito Tourers, allowing passengers to seamlessly book a shared van through the ViaVan app. Via’s world-renowned dynamic ride-pooling technology, developed initially for New York City, has powered more than 35 million shared rides globally throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.
In the United Kingdom, Via’s technology powers services in Liverpool and Sittingbourne in partnership with Arriva, and in Oxford in partnership with Go-Ahead. Since launching in London in April, ViaVan has already provided more than 2.5 million shared rides.
By grouping multiple passengers into a single shared vehicle, ViaVan reduces congestion and emissions, providing an inexpensive, eco-friendly, and convenient transportation alternative.
“Over the next few years, we’re increasingly going to see cities and towns asking how they can provide their residents with transportation that provides the same ease and convenience as private car ownership, and yet still achieves the same environmental and congestion-reducing benefits mass transit,” said Snyder. “ViaVan is the solution, a platform that integrates with existing transit infrastructure and enables residents to seamlessly travel within the greater London-Milton Keynes area.”
Steve Hayes, Head of Transport at MK Council, added: “Milton Keynes is a great place for transport initiatives with its fast moving grid roads, unique Redway network and a history of trialling new technologies like the driverless pods. MK Council is very proactive towards transport innovation and working in partnership with innovative, commercial companies so ViaVan fits in perfectly with our aims to offer a wide range of travel options to everyone. Sharing journeys is something we fully support as one of our key objectives is to reduce our carbon footprint and reduce traffic growth so that MK remains easy and quick to travel around as it continues to grow rapidly.”
Simon Neill, Sales Director, Mercedes-Benz Vans UK Ltd, said: “We are very proud to be working closely with our ViaVan colleagues to help establish Milton Keynes as the first city outside of London in the UK to benefit from this service. The bundling of rides will play its part in helping to ease the traffic in the city and at the same time, many commuters to the Capital will see a real benefit in terms of end-to-end mobility.”