In the future, the transporters’ party of Daimler’s own car company , together with New York-based start-up “Via Transportation Inc.”, will be offering vans with vans. For this, 50 million dollars are invested in a joint venture, as Volker Mornhinweg, the head of the Mercedes-Benz Vans transport group in Stuttgart. The joint car service should be launched in London this year and then also be gradually offered in other major European cities.
Via was founded in 2012 by Daniel Ramot and Oren Shoval. As with the service agent Uber , an app is used. The special thing about this is that an algorithm is used to combine the requests from similar starting and destination points and to bundle the routes of the passengers. The service is therefore a mixture of taxi and public bus traffic.
The competition, like Uber, was fixed on a category, for example the taxi, said Shoval. Via Via, the riders are not picked up and dropped off directly at the place of their choice, but at the next “virtual stop”, so that the driver does not have to travel long distances and the trip does not become unnecessarily more expensive. Unlike the regular bus, there are no fixed routes and timetables, and unlike the taxi, passengers get on and off.
The Vans are controlled by professional drivers. In the context of the discussion on driving bans in Germany, Mornhinweg sees “also great chances” of introducing service here. The transporters party and Via had already offered such a mobility service in a pilot experiment already in the Californian Orange County. This must have convinced the German coach that he is also involved in Via Via Mobility Services GmbH, the financial holding of the Daimler mobility services. Mornhinweg did not mention the amount of the shareholding.
Already one million rides a month
The start-up wants to collect a total of 200 million dollars in the current financing round, as announced from circles familiar with the cause. Both companies have been cooperating since 2015. The Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, who also belonged to the British football club FC Chelsea, was among the funders in the past finals. Via had offered his service for the first time in 2013 in New York. Currently the platform in this American metropolis, as well as in Chicago and the capital Washington DC over one million rides a month, as Ramot explained.
Daimler-manager Mornhinweg announced that the new joint-venture company based in Amsterdam in Europe would also cooperate with local transport companies. Licenses are to be given to them. The service increases the utilization of the vehicles and thus relieves the inner cities, in which the vans are guided with computer assistance. The transporters party will mainly use the V-Class and the Vito for the transport of passengers. In the long term, the Vito with battery drive will also be used – without a driver behind the wheel.