In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ViaVan, Europe’s leader in public mobility, and EMT, Madrid’s public transport authority have announced the launch of the first on-demand public bus service in Madrid, free for residents and workers.
Smart Bus Madrid
Dubbed as “Smart Bus Madrid,” it offers unparalleled access to critical transportation needs for residents and hospital workers, and has been designed to reduce travel time for hospital trips compared to existing public transit offerings, while implementing safety measures for passengers and drivers.
The service uses ViaVan’s technology for rider booking, dynamic vehicle routing, and safety features including capacity management, seat booking, and data to support contact tracing through a rider registry.
Further, the service will complement existing fixed line transit services provided by EMT, and will create a free and seamless transport option for residents and workers without the need for a private vehicle. The Smart Bus zone will cover 73 stops on EMT bus lines that run next to the M-30 and A-3, between the Puente de Vallecas, Arganzuela (Méndez Álvaro station area), and Mortalaz districts.
With this, the City of Madrid and Mayor Martinez-Almeida are dedicated to bringing technology to transport to the city, and Smart Bus Madrid marks ViaVan’s entry into Spain and an opportunity for the company to introduce innovative public mobility solutions to a new region.
“We are proud to partner with Mayor Martinez-Almeida and EMT to introduce a new form of on-demand public transport in Madrid that provides efficient, flexible, and equitable access to mobility for all,” said ViaVan CEO Chris Snyder. “Smart Bus Madrid demonstrates the power of technology to transform and extend public transport infrastructure, and we look forward to further supporting residents of Madrid with this new mobility offering.”
“We are determined to continue leading smart mobility initiatives in the city of Madrid,” said Madrid Mayor José Luis Martínez-Almeida.
How will it work?
Starting July 1, residents and healthcare workers will be able to book free trips to-or-from Infanta Leonor Hospital and 12 de Octubre Hospital directly through the Smart Bus Madrid mobile app, available on iOS or Android. Passengers will select a desired pick-up and drop-off location, be directed to the nearest EMT bus stop in the service zone, and will be matched with a seat in a high-capacity bus. ViaVan’s technology will allow for quick and efficient shared trips without lengthy detours and fixed routes. Notifications and trip ETAs will be available in real time through the Smart Bus Madrid app.
Smart Bus riders will be provided with an in-app wellness check every time they book a trip, ensuring riders are not exhibiting symptoms, wearing a mask, and are reminded to sit in the back of the vehicle to maximize distance between the rider, driver, and boarding passengers. Contactless payment will be available through the Smart Bus mobile app.
The service will run until the end of August at no cost to riders, operating seven days a week from 7 a.m. to midnight, with the last scheduled departure at 11:00 p.m.
Smart Bus Madrid marks ViaVan’s entry into Spain, and represents an opportunity for the company to bring innovative public mobility solutions to a new region. ViaVan works with partners across Europe, including BVG in Berlin, Stagecoach, GoCoach and Sutton Council in the UK, and Transport for Wales to use on-demand technology to optimize the movement of residents and goods.
ViaVan is the leading provider of innovative on-demand transit services in Europe. ViaVan was founded in 2017 as a joint venture between Via, the world’s most sophisticated developer of dynamic shared ride technology, and Mercedes-Benz Vans, the leading manufacturer of iconic passenger and cargo vans. Working closely with cities and public transit operators, ViaVan powers dynamic mobility services that complement existing transportation infrastructure.
ViaVan operates direct-to-consumer services and on-demand services in partnership with major public transit authorities, including the BerlKönig with Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG).
Through their partnership, Mercedes-Benz Vans and Via are also collaborating on the development of advanced mobility solutions, from sensor technology, to electric vehicle fleet management, to autonomous driving. With more than 100 partnerships in 20 countries, Via and ViaVan have provided more than 80 million rides to date.
— Press release
Main image credit: ViaVan