Via, the New York ride sharing start-up, has launched its ViaVan service in London.
ViaVan is a partnership with Mercedes, which invested $50m in Via last year.
ViaVans are hailed using the Via app and operate in London’s travelcards zones 1 and 2.
They will charge a flat rate of £3 for rides in or out of zone 1. The service offers shared rides only and will be a corner to corner service – calculating nearby pick-up and drop-off points to optimise the route for multiple passengers.
The service is one of several shared ride services planned for London – including Ford Chariot and UberPool.
Via’s software also powers ArrivaClick in the UK – the flexible minibus service in Sittingbourne, Kent, run on a bus operator licence (LTT 13 Oct 17).
The ViaVan service in London will run on a private hire licence. The company has recruited Uber drivers to drive for it.
Its licence has taken almost a year to obtain from TfL.
Mercedes’ parent company Daimler AG and BMW Group recently merged all their mobility services (including car2go and DriveNow) to create what they term a new “ecosystem for on-demand mobility” and a single source for car sharing, ride-hailing, parking, charging and multimodality.
DriveNow provides a point-to-point car club service in part of north London.
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