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Is Shared Mobility Still the Future of Mobility?

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Is Shared Mobility Still the Future of Mobility?
Tue, 07/13/2021 – 15:36

In my last blog “The two S gaining prominence for future of urban mobility – Sustainable and Safe” I had discussed how the trends in mini and micro mobility, electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles and low-touch mobility will take shape in the new normal. The third ‘S’ of mobility which was gaining a lot of traction in pre-covid is ‘Shared Mobility’ – which has taken a back-seat post covid and will remain so in the short-term.

Shared mobility to decelerate in the short-term

Ride-hailing / Car-sharing & Mobility as a Service (MaaS) has witnessed significant impact because of Covid with the overall usage of these services falling drastically across the globe. Though, as vaccination roll-outs happen across the globe, short-term concerns about car-sharing/ride-hailing services will offset with users becoming more comfortable with strict cleanliness protocols. In this case, trust will remain a key factor and the trend will recover as long as trust starts increasing among users.

In the case of Mobility as a Service (MaaS), the acceleration in the trend has a high dependence on the economic recovery will shape up post COVID-19. Economic recession combined with COVID-19 has had a dual impact. On one hand, it is accelerating the comeback of the personal car. On the other, it is having a severe impact on disposable income. Therefore, the rise in MaaS will be limited, despite holding its position.

However, in the long-term MaaS will continue to hold an important position in the overall “transportation future”. This becomes even more relevant in the post-covid world as the whole digital push has increased the importance of a user-friendly experience across all sectors, and mobility is no exception.

                                           Source: Understanding the impact of Covid-19 on urban mobility trends, SIA Partners

Overall, the current indicators suggest a deceleration in ride sharing until they are used to the new sanitized way of working, and covid cases come under control.

  • China – Decrease in demand for cab aggregators (Didi, Meituan), given the adoption of stringent sanitization measures by public transit agencies that are not being enforced on these companies.
  • US – Lyft, Uber and other aggregators reported severe decline in customer volumes and large lay-offs during the pandemic. Though, the pick-up started once the restrictions were eased Uber reported (end of May 2020) an increase in users during four consecutive weeks. Further, the ride hailing companies are diversifying into food and other delivery services which has picked up demand during the pandemic and still keeping strong marking the sign of recovery for the segment. However, companies which were highly dependent on people travel such as Hertz – the world’s largest car rental agency filed for bankruptcy in May 2020.

The focus on MaaS and its acceleration in the future is clearly reflective in mobility companies initiatives in the area, despite the pandemic.

  • EU – A consortium of European Mobility companies launched ‘CORE MaaS’ (COVID-19 Resilient Mobility as a Service) in April 2020, an open middleware platform that integrates all types of mobility providers, while optimizing social distancing.
  • US – Intel acquired Moovit (duringCOVID-19 peak in May 2020), a MaaS company for $900M for an urban mobility app.

Though, shared mobility and MaaS had taken a back seat during the pandemic, the signs of recovery are visible and it will only accelerate as vaccinations roll-out and sanitization measures become a norm rather than an obligation.

To know more about the key mobility trends in India and what steps can be taken to make the mobility scenario better read my blog “2 Cs “Collaboration” and “Connected through Technology” solving Mobility in the new normal”.

Happy Reading and Stay Safe!




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