Via — Arlington’s on-demand public transportation service — is expanding its service area.
Starting Thursday, Sept. 20, the service area will include a large portion of the city between Interstate 30 and Interstate 20. The larger service area, which already includes popular destinations such as the University of Texas at Arlington and Downtown, the Entertainment District, and the TRE CentrePort Station, will now include major retail and dining locations such as the Arlington Highlands and the Parks mall.
More than 53,000 trips have been taken with Via since the City’s pilot program rolled out last December. Arlington is one of the first cities in the nation to offer on-demand ridesharing as an innovative public transportation solution. The service is designed to provide affordable transportation to key areas of Arlington, allowing riders to access entertainment, shopping and dining options, work or school, and even medical appointments.
“The City is extremely pleased with the Via service. We’ve gotten excellent feedback and we continue to see ridership trending upward,” said Alicia Winkelblech, Senior Strategic Initiatives Officer.
Via is available Monday through Saturday, with service hours running from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays. In addition to the app, customers may call Via at 817-784-7382 to book a ride. Rides are $3 per person, per trip, or customers can purchase a ViaPass for a promotional rate of $15 per week. Users can sign up for a Via account to receive alerts and coupon codes.
Customers can book a seat through the Via app, and Via’s sophisticated technology will match them with others going their way.
“Via’s algorithms put people in the right vans going in the right direction very efficiently,” Winkelblech said. “Passengers aren’t waiting on a bus schedule. It’s a really easy, intuitive service to use.”
In order to keep up with demand for this popular rideshare service, Via recently added a few privately-owned vehicles to its fleet of 10 Mercedes Metris six-passenger vans to transport customers in the Arlington service area. All contracted drivers still go through the same rigorous registration process as those who drive the Metris vans and their privately-owned vehicles meet all City and state requirements. Via only plans to use non-Metris vehicles when the company does not have enough vehicles to meet demand.
The City of Arlington is contributing approximately one third of the project cost, in the amount of $322,500, with the remainder coming from the Federal Transit Administration. The contract period is for one-year, with four one-year renewal options. The Arlington City Council will consider a contract extension this fall.
Data collected through the rideshare service will help shape the City Council’s future transportation planning decisions.
“Every city in America is now looking at solutions to transportation and Via is the answer,” Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams said. “We are so excited about the difference that Via has made in our community.”