ViaVan, a joint venture of Mercedes-Benz Vans and North American Via, joins Berlin’s public transport provider BVG to offer a new ride sharing service in the German capital.
The new offering will be integrated into Berlin’s public transport from Spring 2018 and functions as an add-on to trains and buses. 50 vehicles will make the start and the eVito is to join by summer. Certain BVG stations will serve as designated pick-up points with more virtual stops added to the network as well so that customers can order a car via app and on-demand.
Their collective calls will be answered by the Vito and V-class or the electric B-class for now but the new eVito is already scheduled to make its debut in the summer to then join the ride sharing circle that may grow to a 300 strong fleet.
That depends however on how successful the system will prove to be as for now the project is set up as a research and development collaboration to work on providing a supplementary local public transport service on-demand for Berlin.
The service will start in the eastern part of the inner-city, that is the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg districts. For now the partners agreed to gather experiences for two years as they also want to see how the service will be received.
Passengers must share all rides for example and each journey starts and ends at a virtual stop so it is not quite like sharing an Uber cab. Algorithms created by the software experts from Via have to calculate in real time which journeys can be packaged together while avoiding too many diversions. The idea is to reduce traffic on Berlin’s streets and that attractive fares can be offered.
The digital tariff that has been specially developed for the project and is pricing the service somewhere between the classic rate for a BVG ticket and a taxi fare.
Booking the journey by app ensures that the price is known when the booking is made and does not then change. If one person books a journey for several passengers together, a further discount applies.
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