Via, a competitor of Uber, today announced that it would launch its ViaVan ridesharing service in London. The service is a joint venture of Via and Mercedes Benz's van division. The services were also launched a month ago in Amsterdam.
ViaVan is a service that connects a number of passengers with a single vehicle operated by Via in order to offer inexpensive and environmentally-friendly transportation. The service is based on Via's smart transportation system, which calculates transportation routes in real time for thousands of passengers and hundreds of vehicles. The services makes it possible to order a ride through an application in which the passengers select the destination and the ViaVan algorithm connects a number of passengers to one vehicle according to their routes and travel times. Every passenger is directed to a collection station near his or her departure point. The stations are located in order to reduce the distance traveled by the vehicles in order to collect passengers.
The competing service is UberPool, Uber's shared travel service, which has been operating in London since 2015. Uber had to raise its prices for trips at non-peak times because of low demand. ViaVan launched its service with especially low prices in order to compete with the corresponding service. Via emphasizes, “Drivers will earn more on each trip, because ViaVan's commissions are the cheapest in London.”
ViaVan is being launched in areas 1 and 2 in London (the city center and the ring around it). Via's decision to operate only in centrally located areas is likely to ensure strong demand for its service all day, which will enable the company to keep its price low in the long term.
Via was established in June 2012 in Israel by CEO Daniel Ramot and VP development Oren Shoval and the company is today headquartered in New York. Both men served in the Israel Air Force. Via has over 100 employees in Tel Aviv. ViaVan was founded in 2017 as a joint venture of Via and the van division of Mercedes Benz. The partnership also includes cooperation in the development of sensor technologies, management of electric vehicle fleets, and autonomous driving.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 4, 2018
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