Mobility as a Service (MaaS) Growing in the EU

Burney Simpson

The Mobility as a Service concept is gaining adherents in Europe.

The start-up MaaS Finland garnered 2.2 million Euros ($2.4 million) in an early funding round last month with hopes of going back to investors for more this fall, according to release from the firm.

French transportation giant Transdev and Turkey’s commercial auto manufacturer Karsan Otomotiv Sanayii and Ticaret AS, each own 20 percent of MaaS Finland.

MaaS Finland officially opened its doors in February. It plans to deliver its services in Finland and two other countries this year, then expand in 2017.

Proponents believe MaaS will bring greater efficiency to transportation services, lower public reliance on autos, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The European Mobility as a Service Alliance says that MaaS offers travelers “tailor made mobility solutions based on their individual needs. … for the first time, easy access to the most appropriate transport mode or service will be included in a bundle of flexible travel service options for end users.”

HOW IT WORKS

Consumers access their MaaS provider through a smartphone app. The provider creates and manages a trip for the user by finding the right solution with a combination of public transport, car-sharing, ride-sharing, taxi, and bicycle-sharing.

In one business model the gateway firm purchases the rides/transport on a volume basis from the individual providers. The gateway firm also conducts data analysis on the subscriber’s preferences, and uses the information to develop more efficient trips for the customer.

The consumer receives either a single bill for the trip, or becomes a monthly subscriber to the service.

The MaaS concept takes advantage of the move away from car ownership by millennial consumers, and the corresponding growth in transportation sharing services like Uber and BikeShare.

“(A)sk yourself: ‘What would happen if I gave up my car?’” MaaS Finland CEO Sampo Hietanen, who holds a 10 percent stake in the company, said in a release.

“For one hundred euros [per month], you could have unlimited access to public transport services plus limited access to taxi rides and a rented car for a given number of kilometers.”

Other MaaS Finland shareholders include InMob Holdings of Cyprus; Neocard; Korsisaari; GoSwift; MaaS Australia; Goodsign; IQ Payments; and Delta Capital Force, according to a company release.

The European Mobility as a Service Alliance was launched at the 2015 ITS World Congress in Bordeaux, France. The Alliance was founded by 20 organizations, including AustriaTech, Ericsson, Helsinki Business Hub, Connekt, MOBiNET, Xerox, and ITS Finland and ITS Sweden.

The early provider UbiGo tested its MaaS service in Gothenburg, Sweden. It reported 70 subscribers made 12,000 transactions in six months. No customers cancelled the service after the test. Volvo was one of the partners in the test.

UbiGo says consumers pay only for what they use, without the hassle of owning a car.

Last May UbiGo was awarded the Promising Innovation award by the International Transport Forum of the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development.

Photo: (Untitled) by Caitlin H, 2011.

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