City of Newton, Mass., begins Via-provided microtransit service to support seniors

June 18, 2019
The new on-demand service “NewMo” is tailored exclusively to Newton’s senior population, increasing both mobility and wellness.

Seniors living in Newton, Mass., can take advantage of a new microtransit service, Newton in Motion, or NewMo, which is an on-demand shared transit system provided by Via. The city's Department of Senior Services contracted with Via on the new service in order to increase the mobility of Newton's senior population within the city and to select destinations in the surrounding region.                     

NewMo replaces the city's taxi voucher system, which required passengers to make reservations at least 72 hours in advance. The new service allows city resident's over the age of 60 to hail a vehicle within 30 minutes through the Via app or by calling. Via says its NewMo service is an efficient, reliable and affordable way to travel within the city of Newton, as well as a number of medical facilities outside of the city’s boundaries.

“I want seniors to be able to stay in Newton and thrive. Reliable, safe, affordable transportation is a key to giving people options for staying involved in their community as they phase out driving. This is a ground-breaking program that I really think can be a game-changer,” said Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller. 

Via’s explains that its advanced algorithms will enable multiple riders to seamlessly share a vehicle. Passengers will be directed to a nearby virtual bus stop within a short walking distance for pick up and drop off, allowing for quick and efficient shared trips without lengthy detours, or inconvenient fixed routes and schedules. The city's says riders will wait no longer than 30 minutes for a vehicle to arrive and spend no more than 30 minutes inside the vehicle, even when other riders are present. Riders will be provided vehicle license plate numbers of their vehicles and cars and vans used for the service will be marked clearly with the NewMo and Via logos for easy identification. 

“We’re delighted to be working with the city of Newton to provide an affordable, convenient, and comfortable transportation solution for seniors,” said Daniel Ramot, co-founder and CEO of Via. “We have increasingly seen cities and towns ask how they can provide their residents with public transportation that radically improves the customer experience, and yet still achieves the same environmental and congestion-reducing benefits of mass transit solutions. Via’s sophisticated on-demand transit technology is that solution, and we are excited for NewMo to improve mobility for seniors in the community.” 

Seniors can use the service by downloading the Via smartphone app, available on iOS and Android, or by calling (617-655-8019). Users can book rides Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays 9:00 a.m. to noon, costing as little as 50 cents to $5. In partnership with Avis, the new service will feature a fleet of Mercedes Metris vans, as well as wheelchair accessible vehicles. 

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Editor in Chief

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the magazine’s editorial direction and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.