Arlington’s Via Rideshare Provides Affordable Transportation for UTA Students

Marvin Tran doesn’t own a car, so the 23-year-old marketing major relies on public transportation to get to his classes at the University of Texas at Arlington from his home in Dallas.

Tran’s daily commute includes taking a train to the TRE CentrePort Station, where he then pulls out his smart phone and books a ride on one of the City of Arlington’s 10 Via Rideshare vans. Within minutes, he’s picked up by a Via driver and is able to sit back and browse his phone, listen to music or study during the 10-mile trip to the UTA campus in Downtown Arlington.

Besides the affordability, Tran said he appreciates the Via Rideshare service’s dependability and flexibility.

“It drops me off right in front of my class,” Tran said.

Tran is one of more than 4,000 people who have set up accounts with Via since the City of Arlington’s rideshare pilot program rolled out last December. Arlington, partnered with Via, is one of the first cities in the nation to offer on-demand ridesharing as an innovative public transportation solution. The service is designed to provide affordable transportation to key areas of The American Dream City, allowing riders to access entertainment, shopping and dining options, work or school, and even medical appointments.

Customers can book a seat in a six-passenger Mercedes-Benz van through the Via app, and Via’s sophisticated technology will match them with others going their way.

Via is available Monday through Saturday, with service hours running from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays. In addition to the app, customers may call Via at 817-784-7382 to book a ride. Rides are $3 per person, per trip, or customers can purchase a ViaPass for a promotional rate of $10 per week.

Click here to see the Via service area map.

Roughly 27,000 trips have been booked on Via vans since December, according to the latest data. More than 62 percent of the rides are shared and more than 70 percent of riders, including Tran, are repeat customers.

Because he takes advantage of the ViaPass, Tran enjoys up to four trips a day on Via Rideshare for only $10 a week. That means in between classes, he can also book rides to restaurants in Downtown, to the Entertainment District or to other destinations within the Via service area at no additional cost.

“When they came out with the pass, I could take more classes,” Tran added, saying that public transportation costs had him previously limiting his trips to UTA to twice a week. Before becoming a Via rider, Trans said other on-demand transportation services between TRE CentrePort Station and UTA had cost him as much as $24.

“I’ve told people if they plan to go to UTA or be in Arlington, just take Via,” Tran said. “You can go to the stadium, you can go Downtown. There’s lots of stuff in Arlington.”

On-demand rideshare was one of several recommendations presented by the citizen-led Transportation Advisory Council to the Arlington City Council late last year. Other recommended transportation modes focused on newer transportation technologies such as autonomous shuttles and people mover systems. In August 2017, the City debuted its low-speed autonomous shuttle pilot project, making Arlington the first in the nation to offer ongoing, autonomous vehicle service to the general public.

Arlington’s rideshare service area continues to grow based on demand. Presently, the service area extends north of Interstate 30 to Lamar Boulevard and just south to Arkansas Lane in east Arlington. By this summer, this area will include a large portion of the City between Interstate 30 and Interstate 20, which will allow customers to reach major retail destinations such as the Parks Mall and Arlington Highlands.

The City of Arlington is contributing approximately one third of the project cost, in the amount of $322,500, with the remainder coming from the Federal Transit Administration. The contract period is for one-year, with four one-year renewal options. Data collected through the rideshare service will help shape the Arlington City Council’s future transportation planning decisions.

Click here to learn more about the Via Rideshare Service in Arlington.

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