July-August_2021 - 34

Via Jersey City
Success Story
After a year of operating its new on-demand transit system,
Jersey City is reaping the benefits of a flexible model that
better serves residents at a more affordable cost.
By Megan Perrero, assistant editor
J
ersey City, N.J., Mayor Steven
Fulop describes the city's
new on-demand transit service
as " a huge success...even
beyond our most ambitious
expectations. "
The service, Via Jersey
City, is a municipal-subsidized,
on-demand rideshare
network that is operated
in partnership with Via, a leader
in TransitTech. Despite launching
just before the worst of the
pandemic hit the East Coast in
February 2020, the service has
continuously achieved or exceeded
the goals outlined by the city.
So how did this service become
so successful?
Alex Lavoie, head of U.S. operations
for Via, credits the city
and mayor with having clear, measurable
goals in mind and understanding
how this type of service
model could achieve those goals.
The number one goal was to
address transit deserts throughout
the city by providing firstand
last-mile connections. However,
Mayor Fulop also outlined
sustainability and environmental
goals to reduce single occupancy
vehicle trips.
" His vision aligned very well
with the types of transportation
services that we can provide, " Lavoie
said.
Designing the Service
With everyone in agreement on
the overall vision, the next step
was figuring out how to design
an effective on-demand service
that would achieve the city's goals.
The first task was to create service
zones. Jersey City has two
urban cores-one being the central
downtown area that is rich
in transit and densely populated
and then the outer area of the
city that is less populated and has
fewer options for transit and connectivity.
Keeping in mind the
city's goal of addressing transit
deserts with first- and last-mile
connections, the zones were created
so that rides would not start
and end within the central zone.
Instead, a ride must originate in
the outer zone (the less populated
area) and end in the central
zone (the more populated area)
or vice versa.
" We had to set it up so that
enough vehicles would be available
every day to specifically serve
those neighborhoods and not just
be circulating around the area
that didn't have a dire need for
them, " explained Barkha Patel,
assistant business administrator
for Jersey City.
To further promote first- and
CITY CORNERS
designated
as virtual bus
stops were
vetted by the
Via team prior
to deploying
the service.
Images by Via
last-mile connections, Via worked
with the city to establish a pricing
scheme to encourage those types
of trips. For instance, people taking
trips to one of the major transit
hubs in the central zone receive discounted
fares compared to taking
trips to other parts of the city.
" By offering that discount, we
could encourage the first- and
last-mile use case, which helped
the city achieve some of its goals
with the project, " Lavoie said.
With the service zones established,
Via began using its inhouse
technology to help determine
what kind of demand there
could be for a rideshare service
by plugging in demographic data,
population density and so on into
its simulation engine.
" [The simulation engine] helps
run different scenarios for what a
service could look like under different
conditions, " Lavoie explained.
" So, we'll take some of that demand
prediction data, and we'll run it
against different scenarios of the
number of vehicles you have to
provide a service, and test what
the outcomes would look like for
the riders with different fleet sizes. "
34 | Mass Transit | MassTransitmag.com | JULY/AUGUST 2021
http://www.MassTransitmag.com

July-August_2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of July-August_2021

Ad Index
Editor's Notebook
People & Places
A Note from the Editor
Charles Carroll Carter: How He Left His Mark on Public Transit
Transit Industry Advancements: Riding on Rubber
EMBARK-ing Toward Better Mobility
Re-imagining Stations as the Center of Sustainable Urban Life
Via Jersey City Success Story
Products
The Scheduling Conundrum
July-August_2021 - 1
July-August_2021 - 2
July-August_2021 - 3
July-August_2021 - 4
July-August_2021 - Ad Index
July-August_2021 - Editor's Notebook
July-August_2021 - 7
July-August_2021 - People & Places
July-August_2021 - 9
July-August_2021 - 10
July-August_2021 - 11
July-August_2021 - 12
July-August_2021 - A Note from the Editor
July-August_2021 - Charles Carroll Carter: How He Left His Mark on Public Transit
July-August_2021 - 15
July-August_2021 - 16
July-August_2021 - 17
July-August_2021 - Transit Industry Advancements: Riding on Rubber
July-August_2021 - 19
July-August_2021 - 20
July-August_2021 - 21
July-August_2021 - EMBARK-ing Toward Better Mobility
July-August_2021 - 23
July-August_2021 - 24
July-August_2021 - 25
July-August_2021 - 26
July-August_2021 - 27
July-August_2021 - 28
July-August_2021 - 29
July-August_2021 - Re-imagining Stations as the Center of Sustainable Urban Life
July-August_2021 - 31
July-August_2021 - 32
July-August_2021 - 33
July-August_2021 - Via Jersey City Success Story
July-August_2021 - 35
July-August_2021 - 36
July-August_2021 - 37
July-August_2021 - 38
July-August_2021 - 39
July-August_2021 - Products
July-August_2021 - 41
July-August_2021 - The Scheduling Conundrum
July-August_2021 - 43
July-August_2021 - 44
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