A new type of ridesharing

(CBS) -- Arlington, Texas wants to know if this could be the answer to mass transit in the Uber age…The city paired with app-based ridesharing service Via to operate 10 vans to shuttle residents, replacing the city's 4-year-old commuter bus service.

"The commuter bus didn't apply to me at all, 'cause it didn't take me where I needed to go," says Via user Bill O'Toole.

Since January, O'Toole's left his car at home, and commuted with Via, summoning the van from his phone for a flat fee of $3 a ride or a weekly pass for $10 bucks-the fees are partially subsidized by the city.

"Stress at work has been alleviated, and it's probably just the fact that I'm not starting stressed."

Getting around Arlington without a car is not easy. It's a sprawling community of 99 square miles, and sits 12 miles from Fort Worth and 20 miles from Dallas. But Arlington residents have repeatedly voted against spending money to build a mass transit system.

When the bus line was scrapped, ridership had fallen to as little as 100 people a day on its single route through downtown.

"I think that with the new technology that's coming on, you're gonna see very little light rail built because this is so much cheaper," says Arlington's mayor, Jeff Williams.

"It's pilot program. You know, if it didn't work, well, we can go onto something else. And it's a fraction of spending $50 million a mile for light rail," Williams says.

"We're gonna pick you up within a block or two of where you wanna get picked up. We're not gonna pick you up-- at a few fixed-- pickup locations within the city," says Alex Lavoie from Via.

Arlington residents are taking to the virtual buses. In its first month, Via provided more than 5,000 rides at a 97% customer approval rating.