Via, developer of on-demand shared transit solutions, and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), launched a pilot program that provides first-and-last mile solutions for public transportation in Los Angeles County.
The service utilizes Via’s algorithm to dynamically route shared vehicles to-and-from three Metro stations – Compton (Artesia), El Monte and North Hollywood. The value of the year-long pilot between Via and Metro is $2.5M, which is funded in part by a $1.35M grant from the Federal Transit Administration.
Using the Via app, or a dedicated phone line for users without access to a smartphone, passengers in the three pilot zones will select their pickup and drop-off locations and confirm their ride. All trips must start or end at the Metro station in the zone.
Via’s smart algorithm enables multiple riders to seamlessly share a single vehicle by directing passengers to a nearby corner — a virtual bus stop — allowing for quick and efficient shared trips without lengthy detours that take riders out of their way. This enables Via’s system to transport a high volume of passengers while using a fraction of the number of vehicles utilized by taxis or on-demand car services.
A standard trip costs just $1.75 for riders with a TAP card. LIFE participants — Metro’s low-income fare subsidy program — will ride for free. Those who do not provide a TAP number during account registration will ride for $3.75.
Metro designed the pilot to explore how dynamic, on-demand transportation technology can solve a range of mobility challenges. The main goal of the pilot is to extend the benefits of traditional on-demand services to a wider audience by making the service affordable, equitable and accessible.
Via accepts by credit, debit or pre-paid cards for unbanked riders. Rides can be booked through Via’s app or call center for riders without smartphones, also providing translation services for non-English speakers. Passengers with additional mobility needs will be able to request an accessible vehicle.