2 weeks after Chicago launch, Via expands ridesharing service

by Sam Dewey
December 2, 2015

After officially launching in Chicago just two weeks ago, New York-based ridesharing option

has already expanded its services to new areas in the city, fulfilling the company’s promise of a swift expansion.

“We are a corner-to-corner service,” Via’s Chicago general manager Chris Snyder said. “We avoid all sorts of unnecessary detours that you might otherwise see if you were trying to pick up multiple people and put them into the car at the same time. This ends up being a really efficient, affordable, and convenient mode of transit that’s a nice upgrade from the public transit experience — but also much more affordable than a taxi or private car.”

Via, which offers its shared rides in professionally chauffeured vehicles for a flat fee of $5, was initially available in select areas — mostly River North and the Loop.

Now, Via’s coverage has been expanded to include Lakeview and Lincoln Park, with dropoffs available anywhere east of Clark and north up to Belmont.

“Despite the CTA being a great transit system, a lot of folks have a very challenging commute, either because they have to walk a long way or because trains and buses are really over subscribed,” Snyder said.

He added that the service will continue to expand aggressively in the upcoming weeks.

Chicago marks Via’s second expansion into a new market, and their presence in the city isn’t only growing in terms of geography. The company already has a team of four working out of Chicago, and Snyder said that number is growing.

Earlier this year, Via closed a substantial Series B round — to the tune of about $27 million — which brought their total funding amount just shy of $38 million.

But Via isn’t without its competitors, especially as services like Uber continue to expand their ridesharing empires.

“There’s a huge demand in general for ridesharing in Chicago,” Snyder said. “We were the first true ridesharing company to launch in Chicago. Obviously now UberPool is joining the party. But we really think that we set ourselves apart by occupying this middle ground between people in private cars and people in really crowded subway trains.

Photo via Via. 

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