May Mobility, on-demand shuttle provider Via to partner in Texas

Self-driving shuttle company May Mobility is partnering with app-based passenger shuttle provider Via Transportation Inc. to expand May’s on-demand operations to new cities next year, starting with Arlington, Texas.

The autonomous vehicle platform that May Mobility and Via will launch “integrates on-demand shared rides, public transportation, and transit options for passengers with accessibility needs all as part of one complete service offering,” the companies said Wednesday in a statement.

May Mobility and Via will first incorporate AVs into Via’s existing on-demand public transit service in Arlington in partnership with the city of Arlington and the University of Texas at Arlington.

To do so, May Mobility, based in Ann Arbor, Mich., will adopt Via’s platform that encompasses booking, routing, assignment, customer experience and fleet management.

Bolstered by a $1.7 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration’s Integrated Mobility Innovation Program, the one-year pilot program is expected to launch in March.

Called Arlington Rideshare, Automation and Payment Integration Demonstration, it will provide “students and faculty with free rides during the test phase, all integrated into the same Via app currently used for on-demand public transit,” the companies said.

The partners will expand to other cities next year.

May Mobility currently operates an autonomous shuttle on a 3.2-mile fixed route in Grand Rapids, Mich. The company had to halt its operations for five and a half months due to the pandemic but resumed operating there on Aug. 31.

Via, based in new York, will support May Mobility with the launch of various use cases for AVs, including on-demand, routed and shared transit services, the companies said.

Partnering with Via is “the natural next step for May Mobility as we work to integrate our shuttle operations with existing public transportation in more cities in 2021,” May Mobility CEO Edwin Olson said in the statement.

Via also recently announced a partnership with Hyundai-Aptiv autonomous-driving joint venture Motional to provide public, on-demand shared robotaxi rides in the first half of 2021 in an undisclosed city.

“When autonomous vehicles are efficiently shared and on-demand, they are a solution that municipalities can use to strengthen and complement their existing transit networks, ushering in a new generation of flexible mobility offerings,” Via CEO Daniel Ramot said in the statement.

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