Mercedes is entering the on-demand minibus rideshare market in London through its ViaVan joinyt venture. The move echoes a recent innovation from Ford.

ViaVan says it offers its innovative on-demand ridesharing service as an ecologically and economically valuable addition to the existing mobility services in the capital. Last year, ViaVan, the joint venture of Mercedes-Benz Vans and the US based start-up Via, announced it will offer their ridesharing service in Lomdon. Now, the London authorities have granted the licence to operate. At the start, rides in Zones one and two, in the heart of central London, are offered at an introductory price of GBP3 (US$4.23).

After the successful launch in Amsterdam just four weeks ago, London is the second metropolis in Europe where the young company is active. Other cities, including Berlin, will follow as soon as the required permits are obtained.

Shared rides without delays
The principle behind ViaVan is as simple as efficient: the system combines travel requests with the same or similar goals in real time. The passengers are guided by the app to a nearby, virtual stop, where they are then picked up by a professional driver. The algorithm behind the system ensures that the rides are only minimally delayed despite the intermediate stops and that hardly any detours arise through intelligent route planning. The bundling of rides will sustainably relieve traffic in the city and at the same time increase mobility capacity.

See also: INTERVIEW - Sarah-Jayne Williams, Ford's Director, Smart Mobility (Europe)