Zurich, Basel & Bern bring new MaaS solutions
One small trip for cities...
...one giant leap for Mobility as a Service. As digital technologies evolve, the opportunities for intelligent and integrated service provision are becoming ever more exciting. Juste Rastenyte on how MaaS is being extended and enhanced.
Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is garnering increasing interest in the mobility world. MaaS seeks to integrate public transport with other mobility services, such as car sharing and bicycle sharing, collecting services in a single digital interface, making it easier for users to plan and pay for transport, thereby reducing reliance on car use.
These platforms bring together public and private partners, and as initiatives like CIVITAS SATELLITE reveal, local authorities and corporate providers are able to establish smart mobility systems tailored to individual users. As such, innovation and growth are integral to this process, and specialist urban mobility applications are continually updating and revising their platforms. In 2019 BVG Jelbi, an app connecting every shared mobility option in Berlin, was launched thus allowing residents to book tickets and track services on a single platform. Michel Heider, Head of Jelbi, said: "In just a year, Jelbi has become an integral part of BVG’s offering and a part of Berlin’s smart mobility strategy to achieve a traffic turnaround".
yumuv is another application aiming to further integrate public transport and shared mobility services. Launched this year, it centralises all urban mobility solutions in several Swiss cities in a single app.
The project started in Zurich, allowing users to use the entire public transit system, as well as popular sharing systems such as BOND bikes and TIER and Voi e-scooters. Since November 2020, the app has been available in Basel – it will be followed by Bern in December and other integrations, like car-, bike- and taxi-sharing are also being incorporated in the app.
MaaS: more than just an acronym
The term Mobility as a Service stands for buying mobility services based on consumers’ needs instead of buying the means of transport. Via Mobility as a Service systems consumers can buy mobility services that are provided by the same operator or by different ones by using just one platform and a single payment. This requires partnerships between providers and public and private actors. Such integrated approaches are being established around the world; in Canada Communauto, the regional car-sharing service has partnered with BIXI, the bike sharing company, and the local taxi and public transport providers (bus, rail) to encourage subscription to a variety of services. Meanwhile, in Switzerland, SBB the Swiss Federal Railways has partnered with Mobility car sharing and car rental and Quickbike bike sharing to allow users to switch between all three modes of transport.
MaaS – the Swiss way
Using public transport to move between Zurich, Basel, and Bern requires a different approach to shared mobility within the cities. To be brutally honest, public transport cannot accommodate every mobility need; at the same time, younger generations are showing us that solely relying on private cars is, let’s say, “a thing of the past” – millennials and Gen Z are getting their driver’s licenses later, if at all, and they are likely to use transit and active transportation more often than previous generations. This dichotomy speaks volumes: Switzerland is where demand meets supply!
In less than two months, yumuv was downloaded by almost 1000 individuals, thus facilitating nearly 2000 rides only in Zurich. Almost 200 subscribers opted for different subscription packages: in particular, users enthusiastically chose kick scooter services, which, closely followed by bicycle services, quickly became the primary transport mode used by yumuv subscribers. While public transport is, and will remain, the backbone of urban mobility, yumuv’s case shows that supplementing it with micromobility options seems a recipe for success. One yumuv user, Bruno Schmid from Oerlikon, said, "yumuv shows me routes with different means of transport. The fastest connection is not always the best”.
"Flexible connections, fair prices and direct payment in the app make it easier to get around the city”, added another subscriber, Jan Brönnimann from Zurich Altstetten.
A three-pronged approach to MaaS
In order to successfully integrate public transport and shared mobility services, yumuv utilises three critical elements:
1. A multi-city approach
In Switzerland, where travellers usually commute to work, school, or university from another city or village, integrating mobility between cities is essential. To do so, yumuv allows subscribers to access to public transport, and shared mobility services across three cities within a single gateway. To the Swiss it means saying goodbye to switching between apps or struggling to find a convenient route, and embracing a full real-time mobility solution within a single platform.
2. Mobility subscriptions
Most Swiss citizens have public transportation passes, thus extending them with mobility subscriptions for micromobility presented a simple extension to available mobility services. Alongside the pay-as-you-go option, yumuv offers a range of subscription packages, allowing travellers to split spending between different providers. Subscription mechanism benefit users with a unified experience across mobility providers, as well as encouraging them to discover new mobility options. Each bundle works along with any public transport options offering additional free minutes with various shared mobility providers. This mechanism ensures that users can have a cheaper and smoother exploration of new mobility options.
3. Taking data privacy seriously
Protecting personal data privacy is essential for MaaS providers. yumuv has taken active steps to ensure users’ data remains private by allowing the app to function even if travellers don’t want to share their location. Although certain features may be disabled, this means that the app is still operational without location sharing. yumuv presents an exciting development for MaaS. By connecting transport services between cities, the App helps to promote public transport as a more viable mobility option for long distance travel, as well as intra-urban trips. Discussions on the potential of MaaS continue; from Turku to Madrid, innovative integrated mobility solutions are being tested and developed, establishing new avenues for public-private partnerships. As digital technologies continue to advance, new opportunities for MaaS will emerge - car ownership may have passed its peak!
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