Via Rideshare is now operating citywide in Arlington in an attempt to expand the city’s public transportation options.
Prior to this expansion, Via Rideshare was only accessible in approximately 41 percent of Arlington. The company began servicing the entire city on January 19. Similar to other rideshare companies, Via has riders book a shared ride through a smartphone app. Once a driver is assigned to their trip, the passenger is directed to a virtual bus stop just a couple block away. Passengers are picked up and dropped off at their desired destination.
In a statement regarding the expansion, Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams had the following to say: “We are so excited about the citywide expansion and the difference that Via continues to make in our community. On-demand rideshare also improves overall equity here in Arlington, making sure all of our residents have cost-effective access to transportation so they can make it to work, appointments, or shopping destinations.”
Via first partnered with Arlington in 2017, after a recommendation from the citizen-led Transportation Advisory Committee. The committee described the rideshare service as an efficient and cost-effective public transportation solution.
Through the partnership, Arlington became one of the first cities in the United States to use on-demand technology as its primary method of public transport. Since the launch, more than 39,000 accounts have been created, resulting in more than 470,000 rides. Prior to the expansion, the Via service area included 65% of the total jobs in the city. In addition to that, per the city of Arlington, congestion reduced by more than 400,000 vehicle miles. This represents a 36% reduction in total vehicle miles traveled for those passengers.
In addition to increasing mobility for those unable to drive a private vehicle, Via also allows more flexible routes and schedules, as well as reduce costs and environmental impact. As the service expands, Via Rideshare plans to implement a new fare structure, which will go into effect on February 15. The new fare rates will be as follows:
- 0 – 1.5 miles: $3
- 5 – 3 miles: $3.50
- 3 – 4.5 miles: $4
- 5 – 6 miles: $4.50
- Over 6 miles: $5
According to City Manager Trey Yelverton, Arlington can easily scale the service up or down based on the data about ridership demands: “We are able to track point-to-point pick-ups and drop-offs, fare revenue, and whether they were shared rides. This data allows us to refine our service almost on a daily basis as we learn how our service is being consumed by the public. The data tells us if we have too much or too little capacity, and we can scale our operation to better optimize service.”
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