Uber’s European rival ViaVan is helping healthcare workers in Berlin with on-demand shared rides



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In the wake of the aggravating coronavirus crisis, a lot of ride-hailing services across the globe are suspending their operation. Faced with the current crisis, cities, and public transit authorities across the world are actively seeking flexible mobility solutions to help critical employees get to work safely.

However, few companies decided to help those frontline heroes through their platform. Recently, ViaVan, a joint venture between Via and Mercedes-Benz Vans in Europe and an Uber rival has announced partnership with Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG). They plan to offer on-demand shared ride services to essential healthcare workers to help transport them during the coronavirus public health crisis.

The new service has been announced as BerlKönig service and will commence from March 25 to April 19. It will be exclusively provided as free on-demand rides for medical and nursing staff during night-time hours. Authorised healthcare workers will be asked to provide documentation to register for the service.

Chris Snyder, CEO of ViaVan, said:

“Getting critical staff to work reliably and safely has never been more important. Digitally-enabled transport services like the BerlKönig can play a crucial role in allowing public transport to adapt to demand amidst rapidly changing situations. We are proud to apply our technology and operational expertise to support essential mobility for critical healthcare workers in Berlin during these challenging times.”

During this time, the BerlKönig will operate from 9 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. in an expanded zone, transporting workers during shift changes when and where transport is needed most.

Three passengers per vehicle

The service area includes the entire S-Bahn ring and an extension to the city outskirts to include additional hospitals. Rides will be limited to three passengers per vehicle, to allow for proper social distancing, in line with public health recommendations.

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More information about BerlKönig special trips for essential healthcare workers will be announced shortly via the BerlKönig app and www.berlkönig.de.

Dr. Rolf Erfurt, Chief Operating Officer of BVG, said:

“With our large buses and trains, we offer all Berliners who still need to be mobile in this difficult situation, a reliable and stable offer. Healthcare workers, doctors, and nurses are also currently delivering top performance. For that, we say thank you for our BerlKönig special trips.”

Actively seeking flexible mobility solutions

The partnership between ViaVan and BVG demonstrates how technology-enabled solutions can swiftly step in to utilise existing infrastructure to provide safe, reliable, and efficient mobility services for essential workers while complementing existing public transit systems.

ViaVan is partnering with municipalities, public transit agencies, healthcare organizations, and nonprofits around the world to help utilize existing transit infrastructure during this time of emergency.

Main image credits: ViaVan

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The editorial team of Silicon Canals brings you technology news from the European startup ecosystem. 

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