Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is the integration of various forms of transport services into a single mobility service, accessible on demand.
The aim of MaaS is to provide an alternative to the use of the private car that may be as convenient, more sustainable, help to reduce congestion and constraints in transport capacity, and can be even cheaper.
For users, MaaS could be* the best value proposition, by helping them meet their mobility needs and solve the inconvenient parts of individual journeys, as well as the entire system of mobility services.
*As we have seen with other short-term hire examples, the cost of frequent use adds up quickly and may be more expensive than private ownership.
How does Maas work?
Via a mobile application. This is where consumers plan, book, and pay for their trip.
Mobility as a Service (MaaS) solutions integrate all stages of the journey of a commuter, including trip planning, booking, e-tickets, and payments. They offer a commuter one, user-friendly application that allows them to travel via transport methods like train, bus, and taxi.
The value proposition is mostly through simplicity, members sign-up to a single application get access to several mobility options. Like Ride Hailing and Ride Pooling, the mobile phone is used as a single payment channel, instead of multiple ticketing and payment operations for each service.
Is MaaS right for me?
Because MaaS combines Public Transport with Car Sharing and MicroMobility, there is good coverage for potential use cases. It is designed to help alleviate congestion in commuter journeys, by redirecting the flow of people towards options which have less of an impact on traffic.
Whether it could be right for you may depend on what you are actually going to use, otherwise, you are paying for access to something you won’t use and don’t need.
As a membership service, some service providers are accessible, whilst others are not. For example, you may pay for access to one car sharing service provider. If that service or vehicle is unavailable, you cannot access another vehicle which is not part of the membership scheme.
Where is it?
MaaS is a very recent consumer proposition, currently being tested in Birmingham.
The pricing model is not set. Whilst described as ‘pay-on-demand’, may be a fixed monthly fee, regardless of use, not pay only for what you use.
Is it definitely cheaper?
No. There are different price points for different use cases. Whim launched in Birmingham in January, 2019, with two monthly price plans for different levels of access, £349 and £99 a month.
That’s an annual cost of £4,188, or £1,188. Take those figures back to the bicycle example (above).
Whim’s relaunched pricing model is more conservative:
- Public transport National Express West-Midlands Standard pricing
- Taxi rides Gett Standard pricing
- Car rental Enterprise Standard pricing
Whilst transparent, this would not appear to offer the budgeting advantage of low-cost access to multiple resources.