Features
8 Dec 22

Barriers to a Europe-wide mobility Super App

In terms of MaaS, commuters dream of the killer app, built on a single platform enabling them to plan, book and pay for their journey, according to their preferences. But in reality it remains elusive. 

There are, of course, a raft of so-called “Mobility Super Apps”, which offer an ecosystem of multiple apps joined together. FREE NOW, however, which began life as a taxi app, integrates public transport, taxi, private car hire, e-mobility and car sharing services in many cities and countries across Europe, but not everywhere. 

The point of MaaS is to knock down the barriers between public, shared and private transport. And therein lies the issue: who’s going to pay for it? 

The economics don’t add up

Justin Spratt, VP Business & Corporate Development of teledriven car-as-a-service company Vay says it’s incredibly hard to address that question: “Stitching it all together is complex, yes, but it can be done. The big problem is how do you share in the economics so that the user experience is seamlessly and everyone makes money from what are, after all, tight margins?” 

The challenge is the public transport integration so buses, trains and government sponsored bike schemes can be included. This would create what Spratt describes as a “beautiful format” for users. But public transport companies are regulated, underfunded and paid for with public money. They rarely make a profit so the question is: who’s going to pay for the integration when there’s no financial margin to share? 

So, the utopian vision of the Europe-wide transport and seamless mobility super app offering an à la carte menu is at best some way off but in reality a pipe dream. The best we can hope for is more of what we have now, which is fragmented but it works. 

What’s necessary for a positive user experience? 

  • The app should be easy to use and intuitive with a good search function.
  • E-Ticket – account-based ticketing allowing commuters to tap or scan using a secure token linked to an account in the backend of the solution.
  • A user-centric mobility paradigm designed around the user is a must.
  • Safe and Secure data – engage with data protection authorities to assess the risks of sharing mobility related data. 

Case Study - Malta’s Public Transport MaaS model

Malta was an early adopter of MaaS. As one of the smallest and most populated countries, Malta Public Transport (MPT) recognised the benefits that can be derived from a true MaaS system. MPT started the progression by creating the Tallinja Card, which helped frequent bus users cut costs. They then added new transport services; ferries and tourism buses, to increase accessibility within the city and improve commuting for locals and tourists. The result was a huge success and lead to the launch of a sharing transport system that includes bicycles, motorcycles and taxis.

To know more about the advantages and the implementation of MaaS within your company, check out our free to download Fleet Europe E-Book - Mobility-as-a-Service

Image: Shutterstock

Authored by: Alison Pittaway