Daimler’s ViaVan JV to pilot ridesharing in Berlin

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Berlin’s public transportation authority, Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG), has teamed up with the ViaVan joint venture between Mercedes-Benz Vans and US technology start-up Via to introduce on-demand ridesharing to Berlin.

Mercedes-Benz Vans and Via form joint venture to create ViaVan

Mercedes-Benz Vans and Via form joint venture to create ViaVan

The pilot project will start in the spring and will offer an app-based on-demand ridesharing service covering an initial fleet of 50 Mercedes-Benz Vito and V-Class vans in the eastern part of inner-city Berlin, covering the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg districts. The plan is to expand the project to 300 vehicles, with the all-electric eVito Tourer to go into action next summer, as well as possibly expand the areas covered.

The news follows the announcement earlier this autumn by Mercedes-Benz and ViaVan of the planned launch of a new Uber-rivalling ride sharing service in Europe, kicking off with London.

The firms said the project in Berlin – which will initially run for two years – represents the first time that close integration of ridesharing and local public transport has been offered on such a wide scale.

Fares will be based on a basic rate plus a distance-based supplement, pricing the service somewhere between the classic rate for local public transport and a taxi fare, and with discounts for multiple passengers.

Volker Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, Daimler AG, said: “Berlin’s challenging traffic provides us with the perfect setting in which to test this new form of mobility. We are confident that this new joint service will quickly become established, and that it represents the perfect complement to existing local public transport in the capital. Shared mobility in our vans makes a major contribution to reducing city traffic, while at the same time giving people access to a sustainable form of mobility.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.