ViaVan has launched a fully-electric fleet of Mercedes-Benz Vito eTourers for its on-demand ride sharing service in Milton Keynes.
The initiative was funded by a £544,000 grant awarded to ViaVan by the UK Department for Transport's Office for Low Emission Vehicles, supported by Milton Keynes Council.
ViaVan says this is the next step in its vision to evolve public transport across the UK with “smart, sustainable and congestion-reducing shared rides”.
Five electric Mercedes-Benz Vito eTourers have initially joined the ViaVan fleet, and the company has plans to expand the fleet of on-demand shuttles to thirty electric vehicles by 2020.
The programme aligns with the recent announcement by the UK Government to set bold plans to accelerate the decarbonisation of transport and Milton Keynes Council’s ambitions to become the greenest city in the world.
As an extension to this vision, ViaVan and Milton Keynes Council announce a voluntary cooperation that seeks to establish a meaningful framework within the city to enable the success of zero-emission, on-demand shared ride services. Through this cooperation, ViaVan and Milton Keynes Council will identify opportunities to expand access and infrastructure for on-demand shared rides, gather insights and data to support the delivery of innovative transport solutions, and collaborate on “Mobility as a Service” (MaaS) offerings.
ViaVan CEO Chris Snyder said: “Together with Milton Keynes Council, we are excited not only to establish a plan to achieve success for green, on-demand mobility offerings in the city, but also to create a model for how the public and private sectors can work together to realise the vision of smart, sustainable public transport for the future.”
George Freeman, minister of state for Transport, added: “We are determined to improve air quality in our towns and cities to reduce the health impact of dirty emissions. Through the Government’s Road to Zero Strategy we have invested nearly £1.5 billion to reach our ambition for all new cars and vans to be effectively zero emission by 2040. New technologies and innovative transport services such as electric vehicle share are unlocking opportunities, helping meet the demands for cleaner, more convenient travel. ViaVan’s launch today shows industry is taking full advantage of the support on offer from Government for those looking to switch their fleets to electric.”
ViaVan has powered more than 100,000 rides in Milton Keynes since launch, and recently surpassed seven million rides in its London service. Across the UK and Europe, ViaVan works with a number of leading public transport authorities, cities and partners including Transport for London (TfL).