The City of Salem takes another step toward being a car-light community today with the launch of the Salem Skipper: a fast, easy, and affordable shared ride service available for all. The Salem Skipper, powered by technology from Via, the leader in TransitTech solutions, will provide transportation within Salem for $2 per ride or less.
The Salem Skipper works like a minibus that comes when you want, where you want. Riders can hail a ride on their mobile device with the Salem Skipper app, available for iPhone and Android, or by calling (844) 983-1842. Riders will enter a desired pickup and drop-off address to book a ride and will receive vehicle information and an estimated pickup time and location. Via’s advanced algorithms will enable multiple riders to seamlessly and safely share the same vehicle, directing passengers to a nearby virtual bus stop within a short walking distance for pick up and drop off, allowing for quick and efficient shared trips without lengthy detours.
New riders will get their first 10 trips free until February 16. After that, rides are $2 for the general public and $1 for seniors, students, and people with disabilities. The service will be available 7 a.m. – 7 p.m., Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Saturday. There will be four Salem Skipper vehicles in service, two Chrysler Pacificas and two Dodge Caravans. The Dodge Caravans are wheelchair accessible.
“This is an opportunity for Salem residents, commuters, and visitors to get around Salem easily and affordably,” said Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, “The Salem Skipper will get you from your home to a doctor’s appointment, from the office to the MBTA Commuter Rail station, from campus to downtown, or anywhere you need to go in Salem without having to worry about parking or driving yourself.”
“We are proud to work with the City of Salem and Mayor Driscoll to introduce an innovative transit solution that provides valuable access to jobs, education, health, and leisure for the community,” said Via CEO and co-founder Daniel Ramot. “Via’s platform has been deployed across the globe to transform and complement existing public transportation networks, and Salem is setting an example for technology-enabled transit in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”
Rider and driver health and safety are a priority, and all vehicles are equipped with plexiglass partitions, capped at three passengers to ensure distancing, and frequently sanitized by the drivers. Masks or face coverings worn over the nose and mouth are required by passengers and drivers.
The Salem Skipper is supported by a Workforce Transit Grant from Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT). The Salem Skipper is also made possible through the efforts of the Salem for All Ages initiative (salemforallages.org).
For more information, visit salemskipper.com and download the free app from the App Store or Google Play.