Taxis shared in Milan, the project starts with the startup ViaVan

The Municipality and Amat initiative, with the Polytechnic and the European joint venture between the American logistics startup Via and Mercedes-Benz

The city of Milan will experiment with the shared taxi route to reduce the cost of transport for citizens and reduce the risk of coronavirus infection. The project presented by the Municipality, the Environment and Territory Mobility Agency (AMAT) and the Politecnico di Milano Foundation has an industrial partner such as ViaVan, a European joint venture between the American logistics startup Via and Mercedes-Benz. The experimentation that the four actors proposed was rewarded with EU funding from the European Institute of Innovation & Technology.

Now the project has six months to invest the 699 thousand euro grant: the experimentation will primarily concern the development of the platform that will have to offer citizens the possibility to order a taxi via the app and to be able to choose the option to share the run, or part of the run, with other people. The choice to share the route with a stranger in the coronavirus era might sound surprising, but in truth the project was born precisely to reduce the risk of contagion: each taxi that adheres to the experimentation will be equipped with dividing screens that will keep the different passengers separate. at the same time multiplying the potential revenues of the race for the taxi driver.

The aim of the project is also to mitigate the economic consequences of Covid-19 which have caused a drop in the demand for taxis in the Lombard capital. At the end of the testing phase, therefore, citizens will be able to call or book a shared ride and the technological platform will have the task of automatically assigning taxis, optimizing the driver's route. The taxi drivers were involved in the design, as Amat's CEO Gloria Zavatta explains to Repubblica. "The project was presented to taxi drivers a year ago, and then during the lockdown there was a new confrontation. ViaVan - adds Zavatta - was chosen as an industrial partner thanks to the experience developed in the management of logistics platforms and for the flow analysis capacity ". ViaVan already has a similar service in Berlin, London and Amsterdam. The American parent company Via, of which Exor, the holding company that controls FCA and is the publisher of Repubblica, has been an investor since last April, manages a platform spread in over 70 cities in 20 countries. The experimentation of Milan will lead to the development of an app managed by the Municipality that will offer the service to citizens, sharing the cost of the journey between the different passengers.