Over the past three years, Arlington, in partnership with Via, the leader in TransitTech, has continually expanded the Via Rideshare service area to make affordable, on-demand public transportation accessible to even more residents, employees and visitors.
Now the service area, which has covered about 41 percent of Arlington, expanded citywide Tuesday, Jan. 19. Via will continue to pick up and drop off riders at the CentrePort TRE Station as part of Arlington’s strategy to Enhance Regional Mobility, the city said.
In 2017, Arlington and Via launched Via Rideshare and became one of the first cities in the country to use on-demand technology as their primary public transportation solution to expand access to affordable, efficient, and convenient transit solutions.
Now in its fourth year, the service continues to provide an equitable and flexible on-demand transit offering that is free from fixed routes and schedules. Via’s platform routes passengers in real time to “virtual bus stops” within just a couple blocks for pickup and drop off, enabling multiple passengers headed in the same direction to efficiently share a single vehicle.
“Every city in America is looking at ways to improve public transportation and mayors across the country continue to recognize Arlington’s rideshare program with Via as the gold standard for transportation solutions,” Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams said. “We are so excited about the citywide expansion and the difference that Via continues to make in our community. On-demand rideshare also improves overall equity here in Arlington, making sure all of our residents have cost-effective access to transportation so they can make it to work, appointments or shopping destinations.”
Riders can book a shared ride six days a week using a smartphone application or a dial-in phone number, (817) 784-7382. The service operates between 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays.
On-demand ridesharing was recommended as an efficient, cost-effective public transportation solution outlined in the citizen-led Transportation Advisory Committee’s report to the Arlington City Council in 2017.
More than 39,000 accounts have been created and more than 470,000 rides have been taken on Via Rideshare since the service launched, the city said.
Services like Via Rideshare represent an opportunity for cities across the United States to introduce flexible public transportation offerings that fill the gaps where transportation is needed most in order to serve the community, while reducing costs and environmental impact.
As of 2020, Via’s platform has reduced congestion in the city by more than 400,000 vehicle miles, representing a 36% reduction in total vehicle miles traveled for those passengers.
“Arlington is an undisputed global leader in providing smart, accessible transit for the community, and the citywide expansion of the service is an opportunity to further improve economic and social mobility for residents,” said Daniel Ramot, Via CEO and co-founder. “We are proud to be a part of this milestone and to continue to demonstrate how flexible, technology-enabled public transit solutions can be transformational for cities and residents alike.”
With the citywide expansion, a new fare structure will go into effect starting Feb. 15, 2021, to better align the value of longer rides and a larger service area with the costs required to sustain the service, the city said.
The new fares will be based on trip distance, with a minimum of $3 per trip for rides up to 1.5 miles in length and a maximum of $5 per ride for trips over six miles in length.
The exact fare will be quoted to the rider before booking a trip.
Trips to and from the CentrePort TRE Station will remain at the $3 flat fare rate, no matter the distance from the point of origin. The weekly ViaPass, which allows for up to four trips per day, Monday through Saturday, will increase from $15 to $25 per pass.
The detailed pricing schedule is available on the City’s Via website at www.arlingtontx.gov/via