September 7, 2018 (BERLIN) — ViaVan, the joint venture between Via and Mercedes-Benz Vans announced today the launch of its “BerlKönig” shared ride service in Berlin, in partnership with Berlin’s public transit authority, Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG). With an initial fleet of 50 vehicles, and plans to expand the service to 300 vehicles, BerlKönig is the largest public sector deployment of an on-demand shuttle service anywhere in the world. To mark the launch, for a limited time all BerlKönig rides will cost just €4.
“Together, ViaVan and BVG are redefining mobility across the globe. We are thrilled to be partnering with BVG on this bold new project to introduce the ViaVan model of dynamically routed on-demand shared rides to Berlin on a mass scale. The launch of the BerlKönig service is a look at the future of what’s possible in urban mobility when the private and public sector come together,” says Chris Snyder, CEO of ViaVan.
The service will be powered by Via’s world-renowned technology that matches multiple passengers headed in the same direction into a shared dynamically routed shuttle, further reducing emissions and congestion in crowded cities. With the BerlKönig launch, ViaVan is taking its commitment to powering environmentally conscious transportation one step further with the integration of electric vehicles within the BerlKönig fleet.
“We’ve expanded upon Via’s powerful technology and algorithms to maximize the efficiency of the electric vehicles in our fleet so that we will be able to provide more rides for the citizens of Berlin in an environmentally friendly way,” says Oren Shoval, co-founder and CTO of Via.
ViaVan’s BerlKönig service will launch with 80 percent of its fleet fully electric. In addition to all-electric four-seat Mercedes Benz B-Class vehicles, BerlKönig will operate highly efficient six-passenger Mercedes Benz V-Class vans. The fleet will also include an accessible option for passengers who require wheelchair assistance. By the end of 2018, ViaVan and BVG will introduce into the BerlKönig fleet the new all-electric eVito Tourer, the first emission-free shuttle operating anywhere in the world.
“Here in Berlin we introduced the world’s first electric tram as well as the first subway and largest bus network in Germany. We are very pleased to have ViaVan as a strong partner for the launch of BerlKönig as our next step towards an even more attractive on-demand public transportation system in addition to our buses and trains,” says Dr. Sigrid Evelyn Nikutta, CEO of BVG.
ViaVan’s partnership with BVG complements the existing public transport system in the eastern city-center of Berlin and is unique in terms of fleet size and the scope of the cooperation, both in Germany and internationally. “We are proud to use Via’s dynamically routed on-demand technology in Berlin as an extension to BVG’s existing means of transportation. We are committed to evolving mobility around the globe, and this step is a notable moment for public transit solutions that will provide new access for Berliners to explore their city in an affordable, comfortable, flexible and sustainable way,” says Chris Snyder, CEO of ViaVan.
ViaVan is a leading provider of innovative on-demand shared transit services in Europe. ViaVan was founded in 2017 as a joint venture between Via, the world’s most sophisticated developer of dynamic shared rides technology, and Mercedes-Benz Vans, the leading manufacturer of iconic passenger and cargo vans. Working closely with cities and public transit operators, ViaVan powers dynamic shared mobility services that complement existing transportation infrastructure, and currently operates in London and Amsterdam. Through their partnership, Mercedes-Benz Vans and Via are also collaborating on the development of advanced mobility solutions, from sensor technology, to electric vehicle fleet management, to autonomous driving.