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January 29, 2019 11:28 am

Ridesharing Company Via, Founded by Israelis, Drives Straight Out of Compton

avatar by Adi Pick / CTech

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The Israeli-founded Via app displayed on a tablet. Photo: YouTube screenshot.

CTech – New York-headquartered ride-sharing company Via Transportation Inc. is launching a pilot program with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), the company announced Monday.

The new pilot enables individuals to route shared vehicles to and from three Metro stations — Compton (Artesia), El Monte, and North Hollywood — using the Via app or a phone line for users without a smartphone. All trips must either start or end at one of the specified Metro stations. Via’s algorithm enables multiple passengers to share a single vehicle by directing passengers to a nearby corner or a virtual bus stop.

The year-long pilot between Via and Metro is valued at $2.5 million, which is funded in part by a $1.35 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration, according to the company’s statement.

A standard trip costs just $1.75 for riders with a transit access card, and for individuals on Metro’s low-income fare subsidy program, the ride will be free. Riders with additional mobility needs will be able to request an accessible vehicle.

“Many Metro users face a challenge getting from home to station and vice versa,” LA County Supervisor and Metro Board Chair Sheila Kuehl said in a statement.

Founded in 2012 by Israel-born entrepreneurs Daniel Ramot and Oren Shoval, Via has raised just over $386 million to date, according to Pitchbook data. The company operates in 32 cities spanning 11 countries, applying different sorts of operations in different locations.

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