From Monday, the Dan bus company and Israeli smart ridesharing company Via will launch the Bubble ridesharing service in Tel Aviv - a pilot testing demand for such a service sponsored by the Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Finance. Bubble will operate a fleet of 100 minibuses on which rides can be ordered via an app. Via's algorithm will adapt timetables and routes according to demand so that the most convenient route for passengers will be created.
Passengers will be picked up from the bus stop closest to the app user's home and the user will be informed precisely when to wait and although the route might not be the most direct to the destination, it will be faster than by bus. Smart ridesharing is meant to be a compromise solution between the rigidity of bus routes and the expensiveness of individual taxis.
Fares on Bubbles fleet of minibuses will cost NIS 12.50 per journey and NIS 15.00 during peak times - 6.30am-9.30am and 3pm-6.30pm. Senior citizens will be entitled to a 50% discount. In addition, ten rides can be purchased in advance for NIS 120 and employers can buy rides for their employees. Payment is through the app without the need to buy tickets on the minibuses.
The government is subsidizing half the cost of the pilot at an estimated cost of NIS 50 million for the first year. In the first stage Bubble will operate in north and central Tel Aviv on Sundays to Thursdays between 6am and 10pm.
Via was established in 2012 in Israel by CEO Daniel Ramot and VP development Oren Shoval and operates smart ridesharing services in several cities in the US including New York. In Europe, Via operates Via Van in partnership with Mercedes, which invested $250 million in the company.
The pilot in Tel Aviv will be the first of four cities in Israel in which such a service will operate. In the coming months Via will begin operating a fleet of 50 minibuses in Jerusalem, Moovit will operate 50 minibuses in Haifa and Metropolitin, which has yet to choose a technology provider will operate 50 minibuses in the Herzliya-Ra'anana-Kfar Saba region.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on April 14, 2019
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