Getting behind the MaaS Movement
By Marius Macku, Senior Associate, Public Policy & Government Relations, EU
Getting around town should be seamless.
It’s one of the reasons why Uber was founded in the first place, so that you could push a button and get a ride from A to B. Over time we realised that this could have the added benefit of helping people shift away from private car ownership, and so help reduce the congestion, pollution and wasted space on parking in our cities.
And we are encouraged by the growing body of evidence which suggests that this is happening in practice. In recent poll of 10 major European cities, more than two thirds of respondents saw app-based ridesharing services like Uber as an alternative to owning a car.
But we know that Uber is just one part of the solution. Public transportation will always be the backbone of cities — the only way to move thousands of people at a time — and policymakers are rightly also focussed on encouraging active modes of travel. Ridesharing and other mobility services — from bike sharing to car sharing to public transport — must work together to usher in fundamental changes to urban mobility in our cities.
Through research, data-analysis, and mapping, we’ve already discovered how Uber can serve as an important complement to traditional transit services in many of our cities. For example, in Brussels, London and Paris about 30% of Uber’s trips start or end within 200 meters of the tube or metro stations. By picking up where public transportation drops off, Uber is helping give people the benefits of car ownership without the hassle or expense.
This change will truly come when citizens are able to seamlessly combine different modes of travel — what transportation planners call multi-modal trips (for example cycling to the station, then taking a train, followed by an Uber to the final destination). The reality is that encouraging people to give up their cars and take multi-modal journeys is still difficult in practice. You need to think about different timetables, different tickets, different payment systems and so on.
That’s why Uber is excited to join the MaaS Alliance and become a Member of its Board of Directors to help solve some of these problems.
The MaaS Alliance — or Mobility as a Service Alliance — is a public-private partnership established in 2015 to promote the integration of shared mobility services and provide a sustainable and affordable alternative to owning a car across the European Union. Members range from national transport ministries and intelligent transport systems operators to car manufacturers and cities.
We are going to continue to team up with cities and public transportation agencies around the world to create mobility as a service solutions of our own. For example, in Summit, New Jersey the city signed a partnership with Uber to help get commuters to and from their local rail station — avoiding the need for taxpayers to fund an expensive new parking garage. And when the rail line between Amsterdam and Schiphol Airport was under maintenance, Uber offered trips to and from the airport capped at the price of the train.
We’re also partnering with multi-modal mobility apps to help make it easier for people to combine shared modes into a single journey. Recently, we integrated connecting times of public transport in the Uber app in nearly 50 U.S. cities. As part of this integration, we’ll display upcoming departure times in the Uber app when an Uber rider is en route to a train station or transit stop. And in the UK we have teamed up with Mobicia, London’s leading bus times app to allow its users to order a ride via the Uber app to the nearest convenient bus stop and to offer passengers the option of uberPOOL when bus services are disrupted. Uber’s open API is being integrated into other trip planning apps too — like Citymapper, which allows riders to combine trips on shared mobility services and enables seamless, convenient mobility throughout our cities.
Ridesharing services like Uber are at the heart of the MaaS movement, and we are eager to partner with like-minded organisations to make cities better places to live in and get around. We’re excited to announce our membership to the MaaS Alliance Membership as a next step in this journey.