On-Demand Rideshare Transit Coming to W. Sacramento
The City of West Sacramento has announced the selection of New York-based rideshare company, Via, to launch the nation’s first ever city/private partnership for on-demand public transportation service. The 1-year Pilot program will allow users to book a shared ride anywhere in the City for a flat-fare similar to the cost of riding the bus, making it easier and more affordable to get where they need to go— without having to rely on a personal vehicle.
“The partnership with Via is a reaffirmation of the City’s commitment to provide residents of all ages with access to an array of transportation options close to where they live, work and play,” said City of West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon. “This yearlong Pilot will not only save residents money on gas and parking, but will also provide cleaner air, reduce congestion and promote overall livability.”
Via was the top-ranking firm among several leading competitors, including Lyft, Uber, and Chariot, following a request for proposals in May, 2017 to provide an innovative transportation alternative.
Under Via’s shared ride proposal, the Pilot would connect multiple passengers, allowing riders to seamlessly share a premium vehicle with others who are headed in the same direction. Via’s proposal includes up to 10 Mercedes-Benz Metris Vans dedicated to the Pilot, and leverages a strategic partnership with UC Berkeley’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center (TSRC) led by Dr. Susan Shaheen, an internationally recognized leader in innovative mobility research, to evaluate the performance of the service.
Using the Pilot service, riders would be able to book a seat simply by using a smartphone app or by making a phone call. Working closely with Via and longstanding partner Yolo County Transportation District (YCTD) , the City will also explore free or reduced fares to and from transit stops, as well as bikeshare stations, and major events to better connect residents to a range of mobility options.
The Pilot is envisioned to support car-free living in the burgeoning Riverfront Districts, while also making it easier for mobility-challenged households, including seniors and residents who don’t own a car, to access important amenities, such as recreation centers, grocery stores, or medical facilities.
The Pilot will play an integral role in the City’s Mobility Action Plan (MAP), which is intended to help the City develop a 21st Century smart mobility network that integrates shared, electric, connected and autonomous mobility choices.
“In the city of the future, everyone will be getting around in dynamically-routed shared vehicles. We are excited to partner with West Sacrament to pursue a shared vision, and help them provide the first-ever fully on-demand public transportation service,” said Daniel Ramot, Co-Founder and CEO of Via.
The City Council will be considering an award of contract to Via in January, which would be supported in part by a grant from the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG). The Pilot service is anticipated to launch in Spring 2018, pending Council approval.