Via has been able to continue service for Arlington residents while adding safety guidelines despite the pandemic. Knowing how to keep safe while using Via can be beneficial for Arlington residents and visitors.
Via is an innovative and cost-effective transportation option that uses a phone application as its base. Via is different from buses or trains in that it does not have fixed schedules or routes. While the company is worldwide, Arlington was one of the nation’s first cities to adopt this new way to get around, with a pilot program occurring in 2017. Other places where Via operates include Detroit, Michigan, and Washington, D.C..
As the pandemic continues, it is important to remember the basic social distancing rules while also following Via’s current safety policies. For riders, these are outlined below:
- Limiting the number of passengers
- A wellness check before boarding
- Mandatory face masks
- Reduce the surfaces riders touch
- Eating inside the vehicle is not allowed
Wellness Checks must be made by both drivers and riders. To complete this, login to the application and confirm you are symptom-free. Via users and employees must therefore self-monitor for temperature and symptoms.
In the event that riders have been exposed to the virus, the Via Rideshare program notifies all impacted riders.
Safety policies for drivers:
- Clean vehicle with disinfectants
- Ask riders to social distance
- Open doors automatically when possible
- Can decline rides to those who are not wearing masks
Via may also compensate drivers directly affected by COVID-19 by offering 14-day compensation for independent contractor Driver Partners.
Each city where Via operates also gives unique safety measures. In Arlington:
- Riders per vehicle are reduced by 65%
- Drivers are provided with disinfectant wipes and reusable face masks
- Plastic partitions separate riders and drivers
To use the service, riders must first download the application, available on iPhone and Android. From there, choose a drop off and pick up location and complete payment. Via’s operating zone has expanded over the years and includes Downtown Arlington, the University of Texas at Arlington, and the Entertainment District. The service is offered Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday.
In June, Via announced it would give free rides to UTA students up until August 22. This was due to the Mav Mover not being available during the summer, which is some students’ primary form of transportation around campus. Normally, rides are a $3 flat fee per trip per person.
If you plan on taking a Via, it is important to remember to keep others and yourself safe.