Photo Credit: Firefly
Since Launching at the Pandemic’s Height, Via Jersey City has Become a Blueprint for how Cities can Introduce a Flexible, Resilient Mobility Option to Complement Existing Public Transit
Mayor Steven M. Fulop announces Jersey City’s successful on-demand microtransit service, Via, has just surpassed one million rides since it was introduced in February 2020 as part of the City’s public transit system.
Mayor Fulop launched Via with the goal of extending the reach of existing public transportation by providing on-demand shared rides to serve areas formerly considered “transit deserts.” Despite launching during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when global public transit usage plummeted, the service maintained resiliency due to its flexible, tech-enabled model. Today, Via is a go-to form of transit for around 50,000 Jersey City residents and visitors per month, most of whom are lower-income and people of color.
“The record ridership for our Via microtransit service is just one measure of its incredible success. The service continues to provide vital transportation for exactly the communities that it was intended to uplift. A recent survey of riders showed that 51% of riders reported an annual household income below $50,000, 88% of riders identified as non-white, and 58% of riders identified as women,” said Mayor Fulop. “In addition, over 70% of the rides are shared, with each vehicle completing an average of 4.2 trips per hour, and more electric vehicles are being added to the fleet, which supports our City’s climate and sustainability goals.”
Via Jersey City is recognized as a blueprint for how urban environments can expand access to mobility through city-funded microtransit. Any rider in the City’s designated service zones can book a ride at a moment’s notice through the Via app. Via’s intelligent algorithms match riders headed in the same direction into one vehicle, creating efficient and sustainable routes without length detours. To underscore Jersey City’s commitment to accessibility and inclusion, riders without smartphones can also book by calling a phone number, and wheelchair-accessible vehicles are available upon request.
Recent data has proven that most Jersey City Via trips are considered “essential” – 61% of riders reporting they primarily use the service to get to work, school, or for doctor appointments and healthcare. Additionally, the most common pickup and dropoff points include Jersey City’s public transit hubs that connect with nearby New York City and neighboring Hudson County cities. As a result of the service, low-to-moderate income residents have access to 35% more jobs, schools, and hospitals within 30 minutes’ travel than they did before it existed.
Via Jersey City continues to optimize the service regularly, which has included expanding service to Saturdays, growing the fleet size to accommodate more riders, and introducing electric vehicles to meet the City’s sustainability goals.
Here’s what riders have shared about why they choose Via:
- “[If I could talk to the mayor], I’d say that Via is the best thing they’ve picked up. I know so many people who use Via and I always recommend it to people who come here.” – Danielle
- “I have a rare autoimmune disease which makes my muscles weak, and I tried to take the bus and light rail to work. Via help me get to and from work and days I need to go to the hair salon without it being a strain on my body.” – Michelle
- “We were spending upwards to $275 a week on ride-share services just to commute back and forth to work, using nearly 40% of our total income…Via has changed that all for me; spending only $10 a week on commuting has been life-changing! I had been looking for a car for a while, but now I see no need.” – Sara For more information on Via Jersey City, you can visit our website here.