I recently tried a new ride sharing app when I was in New York and wanted to share my thoughts with you. The app is called VIA and it operates in just a few US cities currently. The price is cheaper than ride sharing apps like Uber and Lyft but does have a couple caveats.
Via ride sharing app offers major discounts in some US airports. It was $15 from LGA to Manhattan.
Drop off and pick up is not in front of your location with the VIA ride sharing app.
For me this is the biggest drawback. First off, let me say that I am directionally challenged. So, in a city I don’t know, trying to navigate even a few blocks is a bit intimidating. Plus, if the weather isn’t great, who wants to be walking outside to save a couple bucks. Not me! This is where Uber or Lyft would win out for me. The cost savings of using the VIA ride share app is not worth it for short trips.
Arrival time is not included in the VIA ride sharing app.
Of course this isn’t really a problem if you don’t have a time you HAVE to be at your destination. So for example, when we took it from New York’s LGA airport to our Manhattan hotel, getting dropped off by a certain time wasn’t a big deal. We didn’t have anywhere in particular we had to be that day, so that cost savings using this ride share app was worth it. It would have been much more with Uber or Lyft. However, the next morning when we needed to catch a ferry by 9 am, and barely made it, we were really stressed. My recommendation is if you are going to use the VIA ride share app is that you also put in your destination in Uber and see what time they estimate you will arrive. I’d add about 15 – 20 minutes (just to be safe) to give you an estimate of when you will arrive if you are using the VIA app.
What are the VIA ride share cars like? Do the drivers use their own?
Unlike Uber and Lyft ride sharing where drivers use their own cars, VIA uses vans of their own fleet. These are often Mercedes and are quite comfortable. Also, because the vans would make the most by transporting numerous riders, it almost feels like a shuttle rather than a ride share.
Riders cannot control how many people they share a trip with
Another drawback to the VIA ride share program is that you cannot control how many people your trip will consist of. It’s another reason, I suppose that they don’t estimate arrival times. When we rode from the airport in New York to our Hell’s Kitchen hotel we had two other passengers including the two of us. When we rode from our hotel to catch the ferry to Brooklyn like I mentioned earlier, it was again four of us in total.
Current major cities for this easy ride sharing app are:
- New York
- Washington, D.C.
Other cities include Birmingham, AL, Arlington, Tx, Newton, MA, Salt Lake City, UT and a couple other very small cities. I’m not exactly sure the logic in rolling out big cities and small cities, but I’m sure glad they have an option for New York. You can check out more about Via ride sharing here.