Via, MATA launch new on-demand transit service

Feb. 4, 2021
Via will apply its flexible technology to expand access to transit in the downtown core of Memphis.

Via has partnered with the Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA), the Downtown Memphis Commission and the Memphis Medical District Collaborative to launch Groove On-Demand, an on-demand public transit service that will begin Feb. 10. 

Groove On-Demand will expand access to affordable, efficient and convenient public transit for all riders in the greater Downtown Memphis area, including the Medical District and New Chicago. 

The goal of the service is to support access to jobs, commercial and medical opportunities in Downtown Memphis, Tenn., without the need for a private vehicle. Development in downtown is growing rapidly, with $5 billion in the development pipeline, and a 15 percent increase in population since 2000. 

With Groove On-Demand, residents and workers will be able to commute to-and-from area transit hubs for seamless first-and-last mile connections and book a ride directly to and around the downtown core of the city. 

Riders will be able to hail a vehicle directly from their smartphone using the Groove On-Demand mobile app, powered by technology from Via, and can travel to any location within the service area during operating hours. Groove On-Demand is a shared ride service, and Via’s algorithms match multiple passengers headed in the same direction to provide quick and efficient shared trips, without lengthy detours or inconvenient schedules. At the time of launch and until otherwise communicated, vehicles and bookings will be limited to a capacity of three riders to allow for in-vehicle social distancing. 

“Nearly three years ago, MATA was selected to receive free technical assistance to help develop mobility on-demand projects such as this one,” said Gary Rosenfeld, CEO, MATA. “The launch of Groove On-Demand is another opportunity for MATA to improve how people connect to their destinations using an on demand-response service that transports riders directly from their doorstep to their destination. Another great benefit of this service is that it will greatly improve transit service to people who live in density challenged neighborhoods.” 

“We are proud to play a role in the transformation of public transit in Memphis and to provide the community with a flexible, digitally-powered transportation solution,” said Daniel Ramot, CEO and co-founder of Via. “Groove On-Demand will be a seamless transit option for residents and represents an opportunity for technology to usher in the next generation of mass transit.” 

Using the Groove On-Demand mobile app, transit riders can book their ride by selecting a pickup and drop off location within the service area. Once a ride is booked, passengers are directed to their exact pickup spot, and they can see the real-time location of their vehicle, the driver’s name and other information to help them spot their ride. 

The on-demand service will be available in the service zone Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Rides are similar to the cost of a bus trip at $1.25, with additional passengers at $0.75 each. Concessions for seniors, students and riders with disabilities are $0.50 per ride. 

“Our work to create a ‘Downtown for Everyone’ includes increasing mobility options across this geography. Working with MATA and MMDC to provide equitable transit options in downtown just makes sense. Whether you are a commuter, resident, patient or student the new Groove On-Demand provides a low cost shared-transit opportunity,” said Lauren Crabtree, Transportation Program manager, Downtown Memphis Commission. “Additionally, increasing mobility choice is a core function of Downtown’s new Transportation Management Association, or TMA. Providing an on-demand transit service like this a great start.” 

To ensure accessibility for all riders, Groove On-Demand will include wheelchair-accessible vehicles, and those without a smartphone can book a trip by calling.