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ViaVan launches new on-demand shared ride service in Germany

ViaVan – the joint-venture between Via and Mercedes-Benz Vans in Europe – has launched its third public sector deployment of technology for on-demand shared rides in the German city of Bielefeld.

ViaVan, was awarded the project following a competitive public procurement process by moBiel
ViaVan, was awarded the project following a competitive public procurement process by moBiel

This program is being run in direct partnership with local public transit operator moBiel, and represents the potential for the technology to be used to complement and extend public transit infrastructure in cities of all sizes, the company said.

Chris Snyder, ViaVan CEO said, “We are proud to partner with moBiel to provide residents of Bielefeld with a convenient, affordable, and congestion-reducing shared transportation option that creates a viable alternative to private car usage.”

The service, called Anton, will provide access to transportation when and where public transit is less available. Anton will be rolled out in two phases across two service zones: first, in Sennestadt on 28 October, and in the coming months, in Jöllenbeck. In Sennestadt, Anton will fill the gaps of the existing service during evening hours Monday to Saturday, and all day Sunday, when public transit is less available. In Jöllenbeck, Anton will strengthen transportation across the service zone for more flexible travel.

The shared ride approach reduces congestion and emissions while providing a highly-efficient rider experience.

Wheelchair-accessible, high-capacity Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans that accommodate up to eight passengers will operate in the service areas. Multiple passengers headed in a similar direction will be matched into a single vehicle using Via’s technology, and will be dynamically routed in real-time. Via’s technology minimises detours through the use of “virtual bus stops”, or corner-to-corner service.

ViaVan will integrate moBiel’s “Fahrplan” public transit route planner into the Anton app. The planner provides visibility for public transit riders to the most efficient method of transportation for their individual journey, whether through Anton or other public transit infrastructure.

“Anton is an intelligent, flexible and efficient system. Especially in busy residential areas it can also reduce emissions and noise. It optimally complements our bus and light rail system so that the Bielefeld outskirts can be better connected,” says Martin Uekmann, CEO of moBiel.

In Berlin, ViaVan currently powers and operates the BerlKoenig, the largest public sector fleet of on-demand shared rides, in direct partnership with Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG). ViaVan’s technology also powers the mobile app for BVG’s first-and-last mile service in Brandenberg.

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Written by Jonathan Musk

Jonathan turned to motoring journalism in 2013 having founded, edited and produced Autovolt - one of the UK's leading electric car publications. He has also written and produced books on both Ferrari and Hispano-Suiza, while working as an international graphic designer for the past 15 years. As the automotive industry moves towards electrification, Jonathan brings a near-unrivalled knowledge of EVs and hybrids to Fleet World Group.

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