Economics / Startups / Transportation

Meet Via, a new entrant in the DC ridesharing market

The company rushed into D.C. on Monday to rescue red line riders in distress.

Via enters a crowded ridesharing market. (Screenshot)

We’ve got Uber and Lyft and the respective carpooling options of each — UberPool and Lyft Line. We’ve got Split and its “smarter shared rides” and even D.C. taxis have an app now.
And now there’s yet another new way to avoid WMATA in D.C. — straight from New York (and Chicago), it’s Via.
The company, which offers flat-rate, always-pool-style rides that depart from set pickup locations (like Split), launched in D.C. on Monday, according to a story in the New York Observer. signed up for the service to confirm, and immediately got an email declaring that, “with SafeTrack closures affecting the Red Line, Via is here to fix your commute.” The email subsequently informed us that Via is offering a user’s first five rides for just $2.15 a pop (the price of the Metro), and then subsequent rides for the same price if you buy ride credit ahead of time in the app or $3.15 if you pay-as-you-ride.
In New York, Via’s home city, rides cost $5 plus tax for pre-paid and $7 plus tax for pay-as-you-ride.

Via's current coverage in D.C. (Screenshot)

Via’s current coverage in D.C. (Screenshot)

Via’s not trying to be everything in D.C., at least not at first. The company told in an email that the service currently operates on weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., between Cleveland Park and NoMa. These are the only hours and locations at which you can get a Via, so the link to SafeTrack is easy to see.
“We thought we would try to ease the pain somewhat and make an investment and try to support these commuters,” Daniel Ramot, cofounder and CEO of Via, told the Washington Post in an interview. “We just wanted to get out there and offer some service to commuters who are being impacted by this week’s SafeTrack.”
Via recently raised a $100 million Series C round, bringing the total capital raised by the company to $137 million. A press release announcing the raise stated that the funds are set to be used to grow operations in NYC and Chicago (Via’s two established cities), as well as expand into new cities. Now we know D.C. is one of those cities.

Companies: Split / Lyft / Uber

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