- This week, Via and Mobike launched a joint Earth Day-inspired initiative allowing Via users in Washington, DC to purchase a 4-week "multi-modal transportation bundle," dubbed ViaPass, that includes unlimited access to Via rides and Mobike dockless bikes for one upfront fee.
- The broad mission of Via and Mobike's #MyEarthDayCommute challenge is to encourage DC residents to ditch personal vehicles and reduce their carbon footprints.
- In an emailed statement, Alex Lavoie, U.S. General Manager at Via, said the company is also "exploring opportunities to collaborate with Mobike in other markets" outside of the DC area.
While Via and Mobike tout this transportation bundle initiative as a "first-ever" for the industry, it is not the first time that ride-share and bike-share leaders have partnered to streamline transportation options. Earlier this month, Uber acquired Jump in a deal worth a reported $200 million, which is intended to help Uber transition to a "multi-modal platform." This newest partnership indicates a potential shared mobility trend that industry leaders would be wise to keep an eye on in coming months.
Via's decision to partner with Mobike is interesting, especially for the DC market. While Mobike is one of the leading bike-share companies globally, its presence in DC is overshadowed by a handful of other bike-share options — CapitalBikeshare, LimeBike, Spin, ofo and Jump — some of which appear to be more frequented than Mobike. Per the terms of the District's dockless pilot program, each bike-share company is permitted up to 400 bikes in the city, which will limit the scale of this initiative. However Lavoie is optimistic that it will be a boon for both companies.
"This partnership allows us to broaden the value for our membership and build the transportation system of the future — a network of environmentally-friendly, affordable and convenient ways to get around cities," he said in a statement.
Via's push to expand its reach in DC may be seen as a last-ditch effort for the company to revive itself after recent allegations that it has neglected neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River, therefore violating the city's Vehicle for Hire Innovation Amendment Act of 2014. Curbed reported that Via has until early July to broaden its coverage area or risk losing its operating license, and this latest move suggests it is working toward such improvements.