Pilot programme launched in Los Angeles to enhance public transport network
The new service uses algorithms to dynamically route shared vehicles to and from three busy Metro stations: Compton (Artesia), El Monte and North Hollywood.
Via and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) have launched a pilot programme that provides first-and last-mile solutions for public transport in Los Angeles County.
The value of the year-long pilot between Via and Metro is $2.5 million, which is funded in part by a $1.35 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration.
“We are thrilled to partner with LA Metro 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.”
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 pick-up and drop-off locations and confirm their ride. All trips must start or end at the Metro station in the zone. The 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. This enables Via’s system to transport a high volume of passengers using a fraction of the number of vehicles operated by taxis or on-demand car services.
“This innovative pilot programme will give riders another glimpse into LA’s comprehensive future transportation system. Many Metro users face a challenge getting from home to the station and vice versa,” said L.A. 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.”
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.
“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 L.A. County to better serve Metro riders’ first-and last-mile needs.”