Home Events + NewsEvents Now You Can Travel Around Jersey City For Just $1, Thanks to Via

Now You Can Travel Around Jersey City For Just $1, Thanks to Via

by Steph
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Traveling around Jersey City just got easier, especially in areas of town that are known to be less accessible. Via is the new on-demand public transportation option launching throughout Jersey City with fares as low as $1 to $2 per ride.

Back in September 2019, Jersey City officials announced a new partnership with Via, citing that this transportation option would be a rideshare service similar to Uber and Lyft; however, significantly less expensive. The launch also puts specific emphasis on catering to areas in JC known to be trickier to navigate, kicking off in Greenville and Jersey City Heights. More on this new service and its seriously low fares {#score}.

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How it Came to Be

“As NJ Transit continues to neglect the City’s mass transit systems, and without help from the state, we are now creating our own innovative solutions that will meet the needs of our residents,” Mayor Steven Fulop said at the time of the initial announcement. “This is the latest step towards our larger vision of getting cars off the road, while creating mobility in neighborhoods that sometimes lack connectivity to other parts of the City.”

Via has already started rolling out programs in other cities, including Manhattan, Washington, D.C., and 42 other towns and municipalities throughout the U.S.

See More: How to Stay Safe When Taking a Rideshare Service 

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What to Know About the Launch

To start off, Via is launching 14 on-demand vans in underserved areas like Greenville the Heights as of February 25th. Each van can carry up to six passengers and in keeping with Hudson County’s recent efforts to fully go green, some of the Via vehicles will be electric.

Like its rideshare competitors Uber and Lyft, Via is a tech-based system in that users can order an on-demand ride via the company’s app. With the goal of making travel more convenient in all parts of Jersey City, it only stands to reason that the rideshare service itself be as convenient to navigate as possible. And this day and age, that computes to “can be done on a smartphone.”

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Which isn’t unlike the City of Hoboken’s recent pivot to digital visitor permits. ICYMI, City Hall and the Hoboken Parking Utility introduced Virtual Visitor Permits on February 10th. The VVPs allow residents and guests to purchase and activate visitor permits through mobile devices, exclusively digitally. No need to physically visit the HPU anymore for a parking pass.

See? All online nowadays.

How It Works

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{Photo credit: @ridewithvia}

With nearly everything in Jersey City, Hoboken, and the surrounding areas making the switch to digital, former users of Uber and Lyft should have no problem navigating the Via app. Via is a tech-based system that enables users to request on-demand transportation, particularly in areas of JC where there is less access to public transportation.

The main goal of the program’s launch, according to Mayor Fulop, is to increase both mobility and accessibility. The thought is that users in these less-connected areas can ride with Via, which will transport them to central transit hubs in JC — think Journal Square and downtown for just a few dollars.

“This innovative tech-based system is going to help create mobility for our residents who live in parts of our city that sometimes lack connectivity,” Mayor Fulop said in an official press release.

So, if you have a smartphone and a couple of bucks, Via is theoretically a viable transportation option for you. However, if you don’t have access to a smartphone, that’s not a problem either. Via also has a dedicated phone line for users who do not have a smartphone. You simply call the line from a payphone or landline, arrange a pick-up, and your Via vehicle will arrive shortly.

Via works kind of like Uber’s “Uber Pool” system. It matches users based on where they are headed, then works as a “virtual bus stop.” Passengers meet at a set pick-up area and the Via vehicle will drop off each passenger as it goes.

Read More: Secret Entrances and Exits To + From Hoboken

The Cost

Speaking of a couple of bucks, on-demand rides from Via are significantly cheaper than rides with Uber or Lyft.

From February 25th to March 21st, rides in Via’s “central zone” will cost as little as $1. Any ride to what’s labeled as Via’s “outer zone,” which includes Secaucus Road and Port Jersey Boulevard, will cost a minimum of $2. For each additional mile out of the outer zone, Via will charge a fee of 50 cents, according to Jersey City Times.

Other transportation options in Jersey City include bus service, the Light Rail, PATH, and ferry service. But not only are Jersey City’s current public transportation options not accessible to all people and all areas, but these services have frequently been critiqued for frequent delays, inconsistent pricing, and a lack of reliability.

What Else You Need to Know

Via is trying to make its service as accessible for all as possible. The company also provides wheelchair accessible vehicles upon request; you can make this request either by calling Via’s dedicated line or through the Via app.

Via joins other local efforts led by city officials to promote public transportation as a way commuters can go green. Recently, Hoboken announced free Hop shuttle service {in addition to adding two more buses to the schedule} and also implemented an e-scooter pilot program — both of which were seen as ways to cut back on carbon emissions caused by individual’s cars. Hoboken has also been working diligently on its Vision Zero campaign, which seeks to promote walking as a viable, carbon-free mode of transportation and also make the Mile Square safer for its most vulnerable residents: pedestrians.

Via will be available Monday through Friday, 6:00AM-10:00PM in Jersey City as of February 25th.

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