New Zealand bus and transport company Go Bus marked a Southern Hemisphere first as Savy hits the road in Queenstown.
Using a smartphone app and the efficiencies of ride sharing, Savy will provide on-demand and affordable transport around Queenstown for the introductory flat fare of $5.
Savy is powered by Via, a technology developer and provider of dynamic on-demand shared rides.
First launched in 2013, Via powers over 1.5 million rides per month in major cities around the world including New York, Chicago, Washington DC, Paris, and Kent in the UK.
Queenstown is the first location in New Zealand, and indeed the Southern Hemisphere, to get Savy.
Users simply book a ride through the Savy app and are instantly matched with others going their way in a dynamically-routed Savy vehicle.
Savy is also different from other app-driven or shared-ride transport services in that it owns its fleet and employs only fully trained and officially vetted and endorsed drivers.
Calum Haslop, Go Bus managing director says, “Savy combines the ride-sharing efficiency of a bus, with the personal convenience of a taxi, all at an affordable price and in a way that's quick and easy to use.
“We're confident Savy fills a gap in the transport options currently available, sitting in a space between traditional public transport, taxis and community carpooling that is now more accessible through technology.
“In Queenstown, Savy answers to the area's challenges around providing transport offerings that are suitable for both residents and visitors, growing traffic congestion and dwindling carpark availability.
Savy utilises Via's smart algorithms, which matches multiple passengers headed in the same direction, and dynamically routes entire vehicle fleets in real time to meet demand.
Via also developed the Savy rider and driver mobile applications, as well as state of the art operations management software.
Daniel Ramot, Via CEO says, “Our technology transforms public transit from a system of fixed routes and schedules into a dynamic on-demand network.
“By allowing more people to share rides, Via is helping reduce congestion and emissions around the world, from New York to Paris, and we are excited to bring this successful model to Queenstown.
Savy officially launched in Queenstown with a fleet of six Savy vehicles on the go seven days week.
Operating times accommodate early starts and late nights out, 6 am to 11 pm Sunday to Thursday, and 6 am to 1 am Friday and Saturday.
The current service area covers the Queenstown area including Arthurs Point in the north, Fernhill to the west, Kelvin Heights to the south and east towards Lake Hayes, with plans for expansion in the future.