Via and LA Metro Launch Pilot Program to Evolve Public Transit in Los Angeles

Via, a developer of on-demand shared transit solutions, and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), launch today a pilot program that provides first-and-last mile solutions for public transportation in Los Angeles County. The service utilizes Via’s sophisticated algorithm to dynamically route shared vehicles to-and-from three busy Metro stations– Compton (Artesia), El Monte and North Hollywood. The value of the year-long pilot between Via and Metro is US$2.5m, which is funded in part by a US$1.35m grant from the Federal Transit Administration.

“Via’s technology is redefining mobility across the globe, and we are thrilled to partner with LA Metro, an innovation-forward agency, to provide residents with a convenient, affordable, and congestion-reducing dynamic transportation alternative,” said Daniel Ramot, CEO and co-founder of Via. “Via’s powerful passenger matching and vehicle routing algorithm is the solution to solving the first-and-last mile challenge, seamlessly integrating into the existing public transit infrastructure to connect residents to transit hubs in their communities.”

“This innovative pilot program will give riders another glimpse into LA’s comprehensive future transportation system. Many Metro users face a challenge getting from home to station and vice versa,” said LA County Supervisor and Metro Board Chair Sheila Kuehl. “They need a quick, easy, and inexpensive door-to-door solution and this new pilot is one to consider.”

How it works:
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 US$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 US$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.

The partnership with Metro follows on the heels of several new deployments of Via’s technology around the world. From Singapore, where Via recently launched a dynamic, on-demand public bus service in partnership with the Land Transportation Authority (LTA) to Arlington, TX where the city replaced its fixed bus line with a fleet of Via’s vehicles, Via now powers on-demand mobility in more than 30 markets around the globe.

“Our goal at Metro, as part of our Vision 2028 plan, is to provide high-quality mobility options for all riders, regardless of socioeconomic status or disability,” said Metro CEO Phillip A Washington. “This is an exciting partnership and we believe Mobility on Demand will offer a truly innovative, affordable and accessible service to LA County to better serve Metro riders’ first/last-mile needs.”