Mercedes Takes on Uber, Launching Ride Sharing Service ViaVan in London

By Tom Pritchard on at

Uber may still be allowed to operate in London until its appeal against TfL's effective-ban gets through the court system, but that doesn't mean there isn't a void that needs filling. A void that other transportation companies are quite happy to fill, and the latest is the Mercedes-backed ridesharing service ViaVan.

ViaVan isn't brand new, having previously launched in Berlin and Amsterdam, and parent company Via is available in a number of US cities. But it's clearly dead-set on beating Uber at its own game, claiming to offer low cost transportation for people in the capital, with the purpose of letting drivers make a decent living. In fact the company claims it deliberately takes a small cut of each fare, smaller than that of any other London ride-hailing service.

From the looks of things ViaVan is available in Zone 1 and 2 of the capital, offering a "ride-pooling" service that sticks you in a van with a bunch of random strangers to keep costs down. The idea, like CityMapper's SmartRide, is filling in the gap between basic private car hire and mass-transit systems like the bus or Underground. With that in mind you won't be able to summon a van to your exact location, and you'll have to use designated pick-up and drop-off spots to get about.

At launch the company will be offering trips in and out of Zone 1 from £3, which is a pretty good deal considering the general cost of London transport. That probably won't last, however, so it's a good idea to take advantage of it while you can.

ViaVan can be downloaded now on Android and iOS.


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