- What Is Via Rideshare?
- How Does Via Work?
- How Much Does Via Cost?
- How to Download the Via App
- Signing Up on the Via App
- How to Request a Via Ride
- How Pick-Ups and Drop-Offs Work
- How to Contact Via
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Save by Sharing
Via Rideshare is a service that combines the convenience of car rides with the efficiency of public transit. It matches passengers with a driver already headed in the same direction, allowing up to five passengers to share a ride.
This service is similar to UberPool or Lyft Shared but uniquely permits minors aged 13 and up to ride without an adult, given they have parental permission. Safety is emphasized with background checks for all drivers.
Sharing rides with others reduces costs and environmental impact by decreasing the number of cars on the road.
Via operates primarily in New York City, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., but also partners with other U.S. cities to provide limited services, including rides to bus stops and transit alternatives.
How Does Via Work?
Via operates as an on-demand rideshare service accessible through a smartphone app.
Via offers several ride options:
- ViaExpress: A shared ride with fewer stops, often using highways for a faster journey.
- Private Ride: A non-shared ride for those wanting to avoid stops, meeting the driver at a corner to keep costs low.
- Shared Taxi: A metered taxi ride that can be shared with others for a 40% savings if others join, or full fare if not.
Wheelchair-accessible vehicles are available at no extra charge by selecting the option in the app.
To use Via, open the app, enter your pickup and drop-off locations, and you’ll be matched with a ride.
You’ll meet your driver at a designated nearby corner. The ride may already include passengers, and others may join en route.
Drop-off is close to your destination, requiring a short walk.
How Much Does Via Cost?
Via aims to offer affordable rideshare options, with prices varying by city (e.g., starting at $3.95 in Chicago, $5 in NYC).
Costs depend on distance, timing, and the chosen service, with standard rides being the most economical, followed by ViaExpress and Private Rides.
Shared Taxi costs vary based on local taxi rates and whether others join your ride. Additional charges apply per extra passenger, except in Private Rides for parties of five or more.
A customary tip of at least 15% is suggested, with a $1 tip automatically added to Shared Taxi rides.
Special destination fees are transparent before booking. Via’s app displays current rates, and a $3 fee is levied for no-shows or cancellations.
Unlike competitors, Via offers competitive pricing without high surge pricing. Plus, if you want to save more, you have options like:
- Using a Via promo code on your first ride
- Referring new riders as a current user
- Purchasing a ViaPass, which gets you weekly or monthly access to unlimited rides for a flat fee within a designated zone, or discounted rides for trips outside the eligible area
- Using an eligible Commuter Benefits Card instead of your credit card to pay
How to Download the Via App
The Via app is incredibly easy to download.
It’s available in both the App Store and Google Play store, so all you need to do is complete one of the following steps:
You will need a smartphone that operates on Android 5.0, iOS 11.0, or later for the mobile app to work.
Signing Up on the Via App
Once you’ve installed the Via app, you can create your account by opening the platform and tapping “Sign Up” on the homepage.
This will pull up a form where you’ll need to fill in your first name, last name, email, preferred password, and phone number.
Tap “Next” once you’ve done so.
Via will then text you a verification code for you to enter into the app.
After you verify your phone number, you’ll be asked to enter your preferred billing information.
You can enter your credit card or debit card information or connect your PayPal or Google Pay account.
If you’d like to reduce the cost of your ride with a Via promo code, make sure you tap “Redeem your promo code” at the bottom of the page to apply it before proceeding.
As soon as your payment information is submitted, you’re ready to request your first ride.
However, you may first want to consider the following account customization tips:
- If you need a wheelchair-accessible vehicle, tap the wheelchair icon on the top right of your map screen to always get matched with WAVs. This won’t increase your prices.
- To make ride requests faster, set your home and work address by tapping the menu icon on the top left corner and heading to the “Favorites” tab. If your app is buggy like ours was, this tab may be titled “Menu_Favorites.”
- If you’re using your app for business trips, head to your profile from the app menu and tap “Add a business profile.” You’ll be able to enter your or your employer’s business payment and contact information.
How to Request a Via Ride
At this point, your account should be fully set up, which means you’re ready to request a ride on the Via app.
Start by dragging your map screen around until the blue marker is on your current location and tap “Confirm My Location.”
Then, drag the orange marker around until it’s on your desired drop-off location.
You can also choose from saved destinations, like your home and work address, as well as serviced airports.
Tap “Set My Destination” when complete.
You’ll then see a list of available Via ride services on your screen.
Though some ride types may not be available depending on your route and time of day, you’ll typically see at least one of these four ride options:
- Via: The standard Via ride, shared with up to five people.
- ViaExpress: A shared ride that takes a more direct route (typically using a freeway), limiting the number of stops you need to make.
- Private Ride: A ride just for your party, much like an UberX or standard Lyft ride, only more affordable, since you’ll still need to meet your driver on their route.
- Shared Taxi: A metered taxi ride that other parties can join. If your ride becomes a shared one, your price is reduced by 40%.
Review the prices and estimate arrival times for each available Via service and select the one you want, then tap “Book This Ride.”
The Via app updates in real time, so if you delay your request, you may see prices change and new ride options appear.
How Pick-Ups and Drop-Offs Work
Shortly after you submit your on-demand ride request, you should be matched with a nearby Via driver who’s headed in your direction.
In addition to information about the driver and their vehicle — including their name, picture, license plate number, and car model — you’ll see where you’ll be picked up.
This pick-up spot will always be at a nearby corner, just a short walk away.
Start walking toward your pick-up location as soon as possible.
Since the Via app thrives on efficiency, your driver will only wait for one minute after their arrival.
If you’re late, you’ll miss your ride and incur a $3 cancellation fee.
Once your driver arrives and you’ve confirmed their identity, grab an empty seat in the vehicle and you’ll be on your way.
Once in a while, you’ll need to make short stops to pick up and drop off others in your carpool, but your estimated arrival time should still be fairly accurate.
When your driver nears your destination, they’ll drop you off along the route, once again at a nearby corner.
You’ll only need to walk a short distance to get wherever you need to go.
How to Contact Via
As with any other transportation service, you may run into issues with Via on occasion.
When this occurs, you can easily reach out to the company’s customer support team on the Via app.
On your mobile app, tap “Help Center” at the bottom of your app menu.
If your app is buggy, you may see this as “Menu_Help_Center.”
Then, tap “I need to contact Via.”
You’ll then be able to select your issue, add details about what you need help with, and add any relevant files.
Tap “Send to Via Support” to submit your help request and the customer care team will reach out to you as soon as possible.
Alternatively, you can tap “I have a question about Via” in the Help Center section of your app to read FAQs about the Via app.
In select cities, you can also reach Via through email or phone, which is helpful for more urgent issues.
To find out if this is an option for you, head to Via’s Help Center page and select your city.
Then, look for one of these sections:
- “I need to contact Via”
- “Contact Us” (sometimes hidden under the “Getting Started” tab)
If you see either of these options, tap on it to see the phone number, email, and live service hours for customers in your city.
If you don’t see a relevant search result, you’re probably limited to the contact form and FAQs only.
Don’t try to call or email Via if you don’t see the option on your city page.
Phone numbers and emails are city-specific, so customer support representatives in a different market won’t be able to help you.
Customers cannot send text messages to the Via phone number and no public mailing address is available.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Via available 24/7?
Via is available 24/7 in its primary markets — N.Y.C., Chicago, and Washington, D.C. — but in cities that simply have partnerships with Via, there are usually limited hours of operation.
In these limited markets, Via is usually still available from early morning to late night, so its services are still likely to be available when you need them.
However, Via operations are currently suspended in some markets due to the coronavirus pandemic.
What is the difference between Via and ViaVan?
ViaVan, another arm of the parent company Via Transportation, Inc., works almost exactly like the U.S. rideshare service, only it was built for European users in partnership with Mercedes-Benz Vans.
ViaVan also offers electric fleets in some markets.
This separate app is available in cities like London, Milton Keynes, Amsterdam, and Berlin.
Can I make money by driving with Via?
The rideshare company takes driver applications on a rolling basis for both its primary markets and partner cities.
Via drivers are all independent contractors, which means, once you’re approved, you’ll get the perks of a flexible schedule just like Uber drivers and Lyft drivers.
Many drivers actually prefer working with Via because the app takes a lower commission fee from every ride, which may mean higher earnings for you.
Save by Sharing
Choosing Via as your go-to rideshare services is a great way to save money on a comfortable ride, even if you just need a quick lift to the closest public transit station.
With guaranteed low prices, Via makes on-demand transportation consistently affordable, so you won’t have to empty your wallet just to get to your destination.
The platform even offers a great alternative to rideshare apps.
It offers private rides in addition to shared rides for when you want to maximize comfort or have some extra cash to spare.
If Via isn’t available in your area yet but you still want to reap the benefits of shared rides, read our guide to vanpools to learn how to save on your commute, all while sharing rides with familiar faces each day.