Via rideshare program to replace buses in Arlington, Texas

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Photo: City of ArlingtonPhoto: City of Arlington

The city of Arlington, Texas, has partnered with startup company Via to offer a new rideshare service for a flat $3 trip fee.

Arlington joins Chicago, New York City and Washington, D.C., which also offer Via service.

The service, which began December 11, will replace the city’s commuter bus system, which will end December 31. The rideshare program will serve the downtown area, the entertainment district and other certain locations. It has no set route. Riders use a Via smartphone app to hail a ride and will share their ride with other passengers, which saves money.

The riders type in their pickup and drop-off locations. One of 10 six-passenger vans will pick them up at the location or a nearby spot, which means the rider may have to do a little walking. A dial-in number will also be offered for those who do not have a smartphone.

The service will run from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday.

The Arlington City Council approved the new rideshare system as a trial program to last one year, with four one-year renewal options. The city is paying one-third of the program’s cost, $322,500, with the Federal Transit Authority picking up the rest. The city says it will expand the service as demand warrants.

Via started in New York City in September 2013. The company says it provides more than 1.5 million rides a month in all of its locations. Via is scheduled to expand to Los Angeles County in summer.

“In the city of the future, everyone will be getting around in dynamically routed shared vehicles,” says Daniel Ramot, Via co-founder and CEO. “We are excited to partner with the city of Arlington to provide the first comprehensive on-demand public transit service to help residents and visitors get around the city in an affordable, convenient and efficient way.”