Jersey City, Via mark successful intro of on-demand public bus service

March 11, 2020
The state's first on-demand public bus service is delivering on its intent to close transit gaps and expand connectivity for residents.

Jersey City Mayor Fulop Steven M. Fulop, and Via, the world’s leading provider and developer of public mobility solutions, launched the first on-demand public bus service in the State of New Jersey on February 25. In the first two weeks, the service has provided more than 5,000 rides, with top routes and rider feedback indicating that residents and visitors are using the service to fill the gaps in the existing public transit infrastructure for both commuting and leisure purposes, key goals of the service.

“We sought after an innovative solution to help fill our transit gaps and to further our overall vision of creating greater mobility, and therefore greater opportunities for all residents. Via has proven to be the right solution, with record-breaking user numbers in just the first two weeks of operation,” said Mayor Fulop. “The results show that this is a more affordable option and often provides residents with more direct routes and closer drop-off points compared to the less reliable NJ Transit bus system.” 

“We are proud to partner with Mayor Fulop and Jersey City to meaningfully extend Jersey City’s public transit infrastructure,” said Daniel Ramot, Via’s CEO and Co-Founder. “In deploying Via's on-demand transit solution, Jersey City is providing residents an affordable, efficient, and convenient transportation option that connects communities while reducing congestion and emissions. We are thrilled to see the service has been well received and is making great progress towards achieving its goals in its first days of operation."

Via has experienced steady daily growth and high demand since launch in Jersey City, with an increasing number of both new and repeat riders. Ridership is strong during commuter hours, with more than 30 percent of trips to or from core transit hubs. Throughout the day, the service has a high volume of rides to major commercial destinations. Average wait times are less than 12-15 minutes.

The service was purpose-built to complement and extend Jersey City’s existing public transit infrastructure, while filling the gaps in areas that need it most. Transit hubs in Downtown Jersey City are vast, but the North and South regions of the city suffer from little access to public transit. The cost to expand traditional public transit infrastructure is significant and Mayor Fulop and his team identified Via’s technology as an innovative solution that Jersey City could proactively introduce to create mobility for residents while taking private vehicles off the roads.

"We were spending upwards of $275 a week on ride-hailing services to commute to and from work, using nearly 40 percent of our total income,” said Via rider Sara Parliman. “Attempting to use the light rail was a challenge, as we walked three miles a day, doubling our commute time. Spending only $10 a week each to commute with Via has been life-changing. I had been looking to buy a car for a while, but now I see no need. I appreciate the City and Via for recognizing those who could really utilize this service as it has made a huge difference in my quality of life!"

Using the Via mobile app, or a dedicated phone line for riders without access to a smartphone, residents, visitors, and commuters can book a shared ride. Via’s advanced technology matches multiple passengers headed in the same direction into one of 15 high-capacity vehicles, and directs passengers to a nearby corner, or “virtual bus stop” for pickup. Vehicles are routed in real-time, minimizing detours to reduce congestion and emissions, while providing a highly-efficient rider experience.

Rides to-or-from Downtown cost $2.00, and rides within the outer service zone start at $2.00, plus $0.50 per mile. The service operates Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Riders can request a wheelchair accessible vehicle.

The project operates in partnership with Avis Budget Group, who provides the vehicles, as well as turnkey fleet management services, including vehicle maintenance.

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