Through, the application-based carpool service is replacing bus services for an entire city in Texas, according to CBS this morning. It is the latest evidence that the cities of the United States renounce investments in public transport in favor of partnerships with new private technology companies.
Under the agreement, residents of Arlington, Texas, who own a smartphone can use the Via application to summon one of the 10 passenger vans that will operate primarily in the city center. The rates will only be $ 3 per trip, or $ 10 for a weekly pass, thanks to the direct subsidies from the city. Via will replace a fleet of charter buses that had been operating in Arlington for four years.
When asked by CBS if it considers buses and light rail to be "outdated", Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams said: "Absolutely, I think with the new technology that is emerging, you will see very little light rail built because it's so much cheaper. "
How much cheaper? The city says it will contribute "approximately one third of the cost of the project, in the amount of $ 322,500, and the rest comes from the Federal Transit Administration." The contract period is for one year, with four renewal options for one year. Via agrees to provide the city with data collected through the shared-trip service to "determine future transportation planning decisions."
CBS incorrectly called Arlington "the first city in the US to experiment with this type of company." In fact, there are more than a handful of cities that have reached very similar agreements. In Summit, New Jersey, Uber gets money directly from the city to offer extremely cheap trips to travelers traveling to and from the local train station. Other cities, such as Altamonte Springs, Florida, have gone a step further, totally replacing public transportation with subsidized Uber trips. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi recently expressed interest in expanding his company's reach into public transportation.
It was first launched in New York City in September 2013 as one of the first application-based services focused on car sharing. The company now operates in Chicago and Washington, DC as well. Via, which also licenses its on-demand transit technology to transportation operators worldwide, has just announced a $ 250 million fundraising round led by Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler.