ViaVan: Mercedes-Benz launches Uber competitor in London
Ride sharing is certainly all the rage these days, and despite some controversy, it seems like a trend that is here to stay. Most recently, yet another company has decided to throw their hat into the ring by launching their very own version. Mercedes-Benz debuted their join effort with Via in London Zones 1 and 2 of the city. Unlike Uber, the ViaVans don’t come directly to you, but usually pick-up locations are just a short walk away. The cost is extremely affordable with rides to and from Zone 1 roughly $4 for a limited time, and while you might find a more cost-efficient option in utilizing the bus, the convenience of the ViaVan is definitely a step up from public transit.
Although ViaVan is not quite as convenient of traditional taxi services and ridesharing models, they hope to serve as a worthy competitor to the popular rideshare companies in operation. Interestingly enough, Transport of London suspended the license of Uber, the most widely known such service, at the end of 2017. Uber immediately filed an appeal, and because the case won’t be heard until sometime this year, they were able to immediately resume operation and have continued to operate as usual in the interim. Of course, some say it is a risky move to introduce ViaVan into a city so leery of ride share operations. Chief executive of ViaVan, Chris Snyder, disagrees and states he feels confident the company will succeed and assures naysayers that the service is properly licensed and successfully completed the necessary processes with London Transport. ViaVan also boasts a higher commission rate for their drivers which Snyder feels will set them apart from the competition.
This is notable because n the brief history of ride sharing popularity, a comfortable living wage has been difficult to achieve, even for drivers who operate full time hours. ViaVan hopes to provide adequate wages and claims to take the lowest cut of any comparable service currently operating in London.
At this point, with ViaVan only operating in Zones 1 and 2, it definitely does not have the range of competitors which can cover the whole city since they are designed more for individual riders, and less like a carpool service. Of course, the company intends to expand service areas over time, depending on the anticipated success of the sample area. Previously operating only in Amsterdam, ViaVan will be making its first break into the UK market upon beginning service in London.
Dubbed “ride-pooling,” ViaVan hopes to corner a niche market that combines traditional public transportation with the convenience of ride-sharing. The cost will be slightly more expensive than public transit, but riders won’t fall victim to the extreme inconvenience of multiple stops and rides to destinations taking much longer than necessary. It will also allow riders to be picked up and dropped off at more convenient locations, as opposed to the strict and inflexible routes of public transportation.
A1 Auto Transport loves hearing about these new and innovative ways to increase consumer convenience while lowering the carbon footprint all over the world, so we will continue to follow the ViaVan saga and hope that they are able to succeed with their debut in London.
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