Mobility service providers are engaging with city transportation authorities in a variety of different ways, but the most extreme example so far might be a new partnership between the city of Arlington, Texas and ridesharing provider Via. Via will be deploying a fleet of 10 commuter vans in Arlington’s downtown region (via The Verge).
The per-ride fare is just $3, which is at or around the cost of a bus ride in many cities, and there’s also an option to pick up a subsidized weekly pass for just $10. This results in a big cost savings for the city itself versus its past practice of using a charter bus fleet, according to its transportation department, which claims it’ll only going to be spending $322,500 to operate the service for an entire year.
Arlington isn’t the first to opt for subsidized ride hailing in place of public transit in the U.S., but it’s a sign that more and more towns are looking for nimble, flexible and affordable alternatives to operating their own public transit system at scale, and that means services like Via, which emphasize shared rides, have a big opportunity ahead of them as cities continue to rethink their transportation solutions.