Expert panel: Mobility-as-a-Service
In conclusion to our Mobility-as-a-Service In-Depth Focus, we asked a number of industry experts the following: considering the various steps that transport operators, authorities and mobility providers need to take to make MaaS schemes successful, how important is it that they get payment integration right, and should it take priority?
Grünkorn: Payment integration is a key factor on the journey to implementing a MaaS scheme. Strong collaboration between each of the individual actors – like public transport companies, mobility service providers and the involved authorities – is important and decisive for the success of the project.
For customers, user-friendliness and the security of payment options are of paramount importance. Therefore, it makes sense to include a customised full-service provider with specific expertise in the mobility market in the project at an early stage. This type of company can manage the complexity of technology integration with various IT systems and take over the connection of different ‘traditional’ payment methods (e.g. debit account and credit card), as well as online payment types like Apple Pay, Google Pay and PayPal. In addition, the payment service provider provides protection against fraud and data misuse, and can also assume the del credere risk and receivables management.
Only a broad mix of different payment methods combined with high service quality, reliable real-time information and a fair pricing scheme can guarantee the success of a MaaS project. Therefore, high priority should be given to payment integration.
Hutchinson: Two driving factors help make MaaS even more attractive as a passenger option: cost and convenience.
If passengers can get to their destination easily and cost-effectively then it becomes a real alternative to the car. Vital to this is the payment integration piece, with confidence and choice fundamental to success, often making the difference between a passenger travelling or choosing another transport option entirely.
One of the major challenges is building trust, ensuring that best-value fares are always presented without the need to seek them out. When presented with multiple transport options for any given journey, flexibility in travel must be matched by the ability to buy a ticket quickly and easily at all touchpoints. Open loop ticketing, accepting payment by virtually any selected method, and traceability throughout give the passenger the very best experience and help to change our travel habits and preferences long-term.
Masson: Throughout the world, transport authorities are looking at how MaaS services can be sustainably developed and delivered.
In simplistic terms, everyone would like to be able to pay a monthly payment to cover all their mobility requirements without the need to have access to a car. However, is it just as simple as providing an app to provide such as service? In theory, it should be relatively simple to provide an integrated ticketing platform – after all, London has had the Oyster Card for more than 15 years covering all public transport in the city.
London has been able to control the quality of services provided across all modes due to the regulatory frameworks in place, including a restriction on Uber’s operations unless they meet the stringent conditions. Quality of service and safety are critical to success of MaaS; the whole ecosystem will only be as strong as its weakest link. We need to encourage innovation and at the same time control the use of road space and infrastructure to ensure our cities remain pleasant places to work, live and visit.
The sustainability of a MaaS provider is also an issue. Who is going to cover their costs? Will consumers be willing to pay more for services or will operators pay a percentage of their revenue to the service provider? Will we see numerous MaaS providers in the same way we see hotel and travel booking app providers? Will not-for-profit business models be the way forward where all stakeholders share the cost and benefits?
While payment integration will be critical to the success of MaaS, there are a great deal more issues to address on the road to sustainable delivery.