Updated on September 6, 2016
Via finally expanded their $5 ride coverage area all the way to downtown Manhattan. For just $5, you can now get a ride anywhere in Manhattan South of 110th St. The timing is perfect as Lyft Line just ended their $5 ride ‘anywhere in manhattan' promotion.
Via has been expanding south in the past few months. On August 25th, Via announced an expansion to Canal St. Via is based in New York City and is a smaller competitor to Lyft Line, Uber Pool, and Gett (which does not have a shared ride offering). Via only provides carpool rides, not private rides, although I luckily scored a private ride today (no one else requested for a Via in my route)!
$10 FREE RIDE CREDIT
- New customers only: download the free app from Apple’s App Store or Google Play
- When you sign up, get a promo code – if you miss the option, you can add it later: just click MENU –> PROMO CODES. These is a friend's referral promo code – feel free to post yours in the comments below.
- Note: I didn't have this issue but in case you use the code above and don't see the credit: the free credit did not appear in my friend's account until after he completed his first ride.
VIA vs Competition
I love all the competition fighting for our business! Getting around Manhattan just keeps getting cheaper and easier. Lyft and Uber may begin to feel some heat from Via. Until now, their limited coverage area and operating time probably kept them off most people's radar.
- Via $5 Rides: South of 110th Street (only from 6:30am to 9pm)
- Lyft Line $8 Rides: South of 97th St. (promotion is still running)
- Uber Pool Rides: South of 96th St. (The $10 flat rate is over, regular prices are in effect)
- Gett $10 (Private) Rides: South of 110th St. (promotion is still running)
$1,300 NEW DRIVER BONUS (From Via's website)
Not to be outdone by Lyft’s big bonuses of $500, $750, $1000, Via is now offering up to $1300 for new drivers in New York City (must be TLC licensed). Gett drivers seem to prefer working for Via because they get paid by the hour (not by the job) and get to stay in Manhattan. Bigger vehicles are better but they also want you if you have a car on their list of acceptable vehicles. It is a tiered bonus, so you get pieces of the bonus as you complete the required hours.
- To apply visit drivewithvia.com and click “Apply Now”.
- For the question “How did you hear about Via?” select JEFF200 in the dropdown to qualify for the bonus.
- Complete the rest of the application.
The Via $5 expanded service area is now all of Manhattan South of 110th Street:
USE PRE-TAX DOLLARS
You can use pre-tax dollars to pay for your Via rides. This gives Via an advantage over the competition because you end up saving even more money! Via accepts Commuter Check, TransitCheck, WageWorks, eTRAC, and Beniversal.
RIDE REVIEW – MY FIRST VIA RIDE
I happened to be in Battery Park City this morning and despite the walk to FiDi being only 14 minutes, I decided to give Via a shot. Unlike Lyft Line, where the app spends 1-2 minutes matching me with other potential passengers, followed by another 5-10 minutes of waiting around for the driver, Via was readily available within a 2 block radius. Note that I ordered a via 2x approx. 30 minutes apart and both times Via was right around the corner with a 3 minute estimate.
When the Via app showed “Your van is here” I was expecting the car to be outside my door (where I set the location for pickup). I then realized that Via assigned the pickup location at the end of the block. I wasn't sure if Via worked like Lyft Line where I had 60 seconds to board or else face a cancel fee so I ran for it. Once I got in, the driver was very friendly and drove quite fast! I asked the driver how long he usually waits before cancelling – I was told somewhere around 2 minutes, however, the Via app tells the driver when to stop waiting and move on, based on whether there were other passengers in the car or passengers waiting to get picked up along the way.
#1 Via Takes Local Roads: It appears Via will take local roads in efforts to pick up more potential passengers. The most direct route from Battery Park City to FiDi is via the West Side Highway / FDR underpass, which would have shaved off 3 minutes, but it is mostly highway and doesn't leave any opportunity to pick up passengers. Make sure you bake in some extra time – especially if multiple passengers are picked up along your route and the wait time is 2 minutes each.
#2 The Via App Battery Drain: I had the Via app open the whole ride and it burned 6% of my battery in 10 minutes. This is a brand new Apple iPhone I just got 5 days ago – battery life has been stellar and I was shocked to see it drop from 95% to 89% in such a short time frame.
My usual walk time from BPC to FiDi is 14 minutes door to door. Lyft Line usually gets me there in 10 minutes or less. Via got me there in 13 minutes today – with no additional passengers. While I am not complaining at this price point, I can only imagine how late I would be for work if I was matched with X other passengers, making stops like a bus along a defined route.
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