Israeli-founded US ridesharing startup Via will jointly launch an on-demand mini-bus pilot service with the company that operates buses in the Tel Aviv area. The service will start operations at the beginning of 2019, Via said in a statement on Tuesday.
The service offered with the Dan Bus Company will use the technology and operating system developed by Via, which already operates smart public transport management systems in 40 cities, including New York, Washington, Chicago, London, Sydney, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin and Tokyo, the statement said.
Via has developed an on-demand ridesharing service: its mobile app connects multiple passengers who are headed the same way, allowing riders to share a vehicle.
Users will be able to order the transport service through the special Via app created for the pilot. The vehicle will collect them at a nearby collection point, which will be set depending on real-time traffic conditions and demand. The app will also allow users to track estimated vehicle collection time and estimated arrival time to their destination.
Via’s operating system uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to map out efficient routes while at the same time better allocating the various vehicles and their available space, the statement said.
First launched in New York City in September 2013, and founded by Israelis Daniel Ramot and Oren Shoval, the Via platform currently provides over a million rides per month. Via also licenses its on-demand transit technology to transportation operators globally.
Last year, Mercedes-Benz Vans said it was expanding its collaboration with Via to enter the ride-sharing market and to introduce on-demand shared rides to the European market.
Israel’s Ministry of Transport initiated the pilot with the aim of improving the public transport services through the use of advanced technologies, the statement said.