Mercedes-Benz Vans and Ridesharing Company Via Launch Service in Berlin
ViaVan, the joint venture of Mercedes-Benz Vans and Via, announced a partnership with Berlin’s public transportation authority to launch public ridesharing service
ViaVan, the joint venture between Daimler AG's van division Mercedes-Benz Vans and U.S-based shuttle-sharing company Via Transportation inc., announced on Wednesday a partnership with Berlin’s public transportation authority, Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG), to offer its ridesharing services in the city.
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ViaVan and BVG will launch an on-demand shuttle service with a fleet of up to 300 vehicles, the world’s largest on-demand shuttle service according to Via. The service will launch in Berlin in the spring of 2018, pending regulatory approval.
"Berlin's challenging traffic provides us with the perfect setting in which to test this new form of mobility,” Volker Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, said in a statement. “We are confident that this new joint service will quickly become established, and that it represents the perfect complement to existing local public transport in the capital. Shared mobility in our vans makes a major contribution to reducing city traffic, while at the same time giving people access to a sustainable form of mobility."
Founded in 2012 by Israel-born Daniel Ramot and Oren Shoval, Via is headquartered in New York, with offices in Tel Aviv, Chicago, and Washington DC. Targeting the void between public transit and private car services or cabs, Via algorithmically matches multiple passengers headed the same way with a single large SUV or van. Passengers request rides through a mobile app, and Via’s system dispatches the vehicle that best matches the passenger’s route. Via’s service is currently available in New York and Chicago.
Mercedes-Benz Vans and Via first announced ViaVan, an on-demand shared transit service for the European market, in September. As part of the joint venture, Mercedes-Benz Vans said it would invest $50 million in Via. In turn, Via committed to raising an additional $200 million from other investors, Calcalist reported in September.