The City of Arlington’s on-demand public transit service, Via Arlington, will soon reach all neighborhoods, shopping centers, offices, restaurants, medical facilities and other key destinations across The American Dream City.
Over the past three years, Arlington, in partnership with Via, the leader in TransitTech, has continually expanded the Via Arlington service area to make affordable, on-demand public transportation accessible to even more residents, employees and visitors. The service area, which currently covers about 41 percent of Arlington, will expand citywide starting 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.
In 2017, Arlington and Via launched Via Arlington 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.”
More than 39,000 accounts have been created and more than 470,000 rides have been taken on Via Arlington since the service launched.
Services like Via Arlington 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. Prior to the upcoming citywide expansion, the Via service area encompassed 65% of the total jobs in the city. It also increased mobility for 191,000 residents, many of whom were able to access professional, educational, commercial and medical opportunities without the need for a private vehicle. 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.
One of the many benefits of the partnership with Via is the ability for the City to scale service up or down nimbly based on data about ridership demands, City Manager Trey Yelverton said. For example, Arlington was able to save roughly $1 million in expected costs in 2020 by scaling back the service to align with the reduced ridership demands during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are able to track point-to-point pick-ups and drop-offs, fare revenue and whether they were shared rides. This data allows us to refine our service almost on a daily basis as we learn how our service is being consumed by the public,” Yelverton said. “The data tells us if we have too much or too little capacity, and we can scale our operation to better optimize service.”
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 shared rides were 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.
“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 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 6 miles in length. The detailed pricing schedule is available on the City’s Via website at www.arlingtontx.gov/via. The exact rate 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.
New Fare Rates
0-1.5 miles: $3
1.5-3 miles: $3.50
3-4.5 miles: $4
4.5-6 miles: $4.50
Over 6 miles: $5
For more information, please visit www.arlingtontx.gov/via. With the citywide expansion, a new fare structure will go into effect starting Feb. 15, 2021. The new fares will be based on trip distance and will not exceed $5.
About Via: Founded in 2012, Via pioneered the TransitTech category by using new technologies to power public mobility systems, optimizing networks of dynamic shuttles, buses, wheelchair accessible vehicles, school buses, and autonomous vehicles around the globe. Building the world’s most efficient, equitable, and sustainable transportation network for all riders — including those with limited mobility, those without smartphones, and unbanked populations — Via works with its partners to lower the cost of public transit and provide accessible options that rival the convenience of a personal car at a much reduced environmental impact. At the intersection of transportation and technology, Via is a visionary market leader that combines software innovation with sophisticated service design and operational expertise to fundamentally improve the way the world moves, with 150 global partners on six continents, and counting.