Via, a NY start-up, will launch its ViaVan service, providing a shared-ride service where passengers travel with others going the same way, similar to UberPool. To mark the launch, riders are receiving a discount.
"Londoners deserve innovative transportation solutions that are safe, convenient, and affordable", said Chris Snyder, CEO of ViaVan.
Ride-hailing services have met with protests in Europe - including recently in Athens, Brussels and Madrid - and varying levels of resistance from authorities in cities around the world. Using Via's dynamic peer-to-peer car-pooling technology, ViaVan has now been launched across two cities, London and Amsterdam, with further expansion planned.
By grouping multiple passengers into a single shared vehicle, ViaVan reduces congestion and emissions, providing an low-priced, eco-friendly, and convenient transportation alternative.
Luca Parducci, general manager of ViaVan London said: "Londoners are amongst the savviest of consumers, always looking for the right mix of quality, cost, convenience, and social impact". Instead, it will choose nearby pickup and drop-off points that act as "virtual bus stops".
The move relates to the service UberX, which uses professional licensed drivers, not to UberTaxi, which uses local taxi drivers and which Uber said it would seek to continue with.
Ride sharing is hailed as a potential way to reduce congestion and emissions in the centre of London, alongside schemes such as the congestion charge. The joint venture between Via and Mercedes-Benz will connect numerous passengers heading in the same direction with a chauffeur-driven vehicle.