What Is Mobility As A Service?

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Thanks to decreases in profits from new car sales, manufacturers are looking for new markets to harvest and mobility as a service (MaaS) seems to be the ideology they’ve latched on to. MaaS emphasises a shift from personally owned transportation to public or private mobility services such as robo-taxis, car hire and public transport.

But how does MaaS work, what are the benefits and what does this mean for the future of the motor industry? Read on to find out.

How does mobility as a service work?

Mobility as a service revolves around creating an open and inclusive mobility ecosystem that can be used by all regardless of location or disability.

The premise of MaaS is that it offers users mobility solutions based on their needs and allows them to create and manage journeys through a service built upon pay-as-you-go or subscription based memberships. For example, a trip that involves varying modes of transport should be bookable in one go, accessed through one account and paid for all at once.

The choice between premium subscription based services and pay-as-you-go allows users to choose the payment method right for them. Membership services offer users a monthly credit limit and access to additional exclusive features, where as pay-as-you-go allows you to pay only for what you use.

MaaS supports numerous transport options.

  • Public transport
  • Ride-sharing
  • Car-sharing
  • Bike-sharing
  • Taxi and car rental
  • Vehicle lease
Bike Sharing

Benefits of mobility as a service

While it may be hard to imagine a society dependent on mobility services, MaaS does offer three key benefits compared to personal ownership and existing public transport.

1. Ease of use

While it’s hard to argue anything is easier than driving yourself from A-to-B, on the occasions that you do need to rely on public transport it can be a somewhat tedious experience.

Multiple tickets and applications to manage could lead to delays and mini stress-induced panic attacks as you fumble to find the right ticket to let you through the barrier before your train leaves.

In contrast, mobility as a service offers a single application to provide mobility with a single payment channel, meaning you don’t need to swap between applications or issue multiple payments.

Moreover, one of aims of MaaS is to support location roaming. This means regardless of whether you’re in London, Paris or Rome, booking and managing a trip should be possible from the same account and application you’re used to. What’s easier than that?

2. Value for money

Another of the key aims of MaaS is that the user should always be providing them with the best value proposition. What this means is that the user should always be getting value for money even if the mobility service isn’t the cheapest option.

The MaaS Alliance outline this as ‘depending on the user’s priorities it can also be the safest, healthiest, most environmentally-friendly, most aesthetically appealing or providing the best working while-commuting facilities‘. As a result, no matter the user’s requirements mobility as a service should be the best option for everyone.

3. Sustainability

The final benefit of mobility as a service is the increased sustainability it offers compared to personal travel. By reducing the number of personal cars on the roads and converting them to car sharing or public transport services, it decreases the amount of carbon dioxide and pollution being produced.

Moreover, this sustainability can be further increased by using low emission vehicles which potentially substitutes a user’s personal combustion engine vehicle with an electric or hybrid shared mobility service.

Toyota Dealership

How will this impact the motor industry?

Manufacturers are already looking at alternative sources of income due to continuous decreases in profit from new car sales and some have already started the transition to become mobility companies.

Toyota is a great example of this having recently announced Kinto, a new sub-brand. Kinto will offer car pooling and car sharing services as well as business related mobility services thanks to the e-Palette, allowing the company to capitalise on the mobility as a service market.

Other manufacturers are doing the same with the likes of Volvo, Ford and Volkswagen also offering similar mobility services and the rest of the industry are likely to follow suit.

However, it’s not just manufactures moving into the mobility market. Existing hire companies like Europcar (who have rebranded as Europcar Mobility Group) and tech giants like Uber and Lyft, are also jumping into the fray. For example, Uber have acquired bike-sharing company Jump, invested in e-scooter solutions and partnered with payment company Masabi in order to expand its mobility services.

While it is unlikely that mobility as a service will kill off the personal motor industry, it will instead offer a level playing field where personal ownership is no longer the fit-all solution. For those that travel a lot and cover large distances a personal vehicle will remain the best choice, but for those who only need a car for their daily commute then mobility services may provide a better alternative.

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