Photo courtesy of Via.

Photo courtesy of Via.

ViaVan, the joint venture between New York City-based ridesharing service Via and Mercedes-Benz Vans, announced today the launch of its shared-ride service in London.

Through the ViaVan app, passengers will be seamlessly matched in real time with other riders headed their way, sharing their trip in a professionally-chauffeured vehicle. Launching across Zones 1 and 2, the service will provide Londoners with an alternative to Uber and taxis, offering low fares and a commitment safety.

To mark the launch, for a limited time all ViaVan rides to or from Zone 1 will cost just 3 pounds ($4.22).

The service will be 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.

By grouping multiple passengers into a single shared vehicle, ViaVan reduces congestion and emissions, providing an inexpensive, eco-friendly, and convenient transportation alternative, according to the company. With low prices, ViaVan 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.

How it works

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 utilized by taxis or on-demand car services.

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