With a change in passenger transport law, Federal Minister of Transport Andreas Scheuer (CSU) wants to liberalize the market for new mobility services. The future of groupage services and placement apps could be shaped by even more providers.
A large number of players in the new mobility business are already represented. In view of the competition, Daimler and BMW are starting a joint future with a merger of their car sharing offerings DriveNow and Car2Go. An inventory.
Ridesharing and pooling offers
The terms ridesharing or pooling offers refer to travel services in which users share trips with other people. The services are on the streets in several German cities.
A look at the current projects shows: Often, public transport companies join forces with large corporations. Many of the services are currently still under a derogation, which provides for the Passenger Transport Act “for the practical testing of new modes of transport or means of transport” for a limited period of time.
In Berlin, according to the Senate Traffic Administration, this concerns the Berlkönig services provided by Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG) with the participation of Daimler and the Clevershuttle of Deutsche Bahn. Also in Hamburg are the services such as the shared taxi service Moia of Volkswagen and Hamburger Hochbahn AG on the way. The railway subsidiary Ioki operates a driving service in cooperation with Verkehrsbetriebe Hamburg-Holstein GmbH. Ioki applies unlike other services but as part of the regular service, said a spokesman. The status is pursued by the Munich Transport and Tariff Association for its ride-sharing service IsarTiger, which is currently still in a trial phase with a small group of users, it said.
If the proposals from the key issues paper of the Federal Ministry of Transport are implemented, the services could renounce the exemption permits in the future. At least the ride pooling services of public transport companies should then be easier to recognize as special forms of regular services.
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Car, bike and scooter sharing
Services under the Passenger Transport Act do not provide services without drivers such as rental cars, scooters and bicycles as divisible goods. According to the German Car Sharing Association, around 2.46 million accounts were registered with German services at the beginning of 2019. The industry leaders among the vehicle providers without fixed stations (“free-floating offers”) are Daimler and BMW with Car2Go and DriveNow. They are now bringing their companies together and, according to the Federal Association, become “by far the largest provider on the market”.
Amongst the station-based offers, the providers’ association Stadtmobil leads the field in terms of fleet size, followed by the Cambio group of companies. The classic car rental companies are also trying on the market: Sixt and Europcar, for example, operate their own sharing services in Berlin and Hamburg.
In terms of bike sharing services, Nextbike is the European market leader. Electric-powered rental scooter, for example, brings start-up Emmy to the streets in several German cities.
Car sales agents usually do not have their own vehicle fleet, but pass on customer inquiries to drivers, such as the US company Uber. In Germany, the offer of the driving service is limited and in four cities: Berlin, Munich, Dusseldorf and Frankfurt am Main. The company is only allowed to arrange trips to professional chauffeurs and taxi drivers.
Unlike taxi drivers, Uber drivers are not allowed to accept orders directly from the passenger. In addition, car drivers must return to their main location or be on their way before accepting a new assignment. The key issues paper provides for the abolition of this obligation to return. In addition, the pooling prohibition for rental cars should be repealed, as long as the functionality of regular services or individual lines is not threatened or endangered.
So far the service may not rent single seats. The Daimler subsidiary mytaxi is also a car dealer. Pooling is also possible here: In the app, users can use the match option to share a route in Berlin or Hamburg with other passengers – but so far only between 18 and 6 in the morning, according to a spokesperson. Other large on-demand services such as Careem from the Arabic-speaking region, the North American service Lyft or the Chinese provider Didi do not exist in Germany so far.
Mobility as a service
Mobility as a Service (MaaS) – mobility as a service – refers to a concept that brings together and combines the various forms of transportation. Users get a mix of different modes of transport when they want to go from A to B. An example is Jelbi, an app of the Berlin public transport company, which is scheduled to launch in summer. Users can thus find, book and pay by rental car, bus and train or short-hire car.
The Daimler subsidiary moovel Group has also developed MaaS apps for various cities, including Stuttgart, Hamburg, Karlsruhe and Aschaffenburg. Other offers on the field include Google Maps and apps like Ally or moovit.
Platforms for private providers
In addition to smaller and larger car sharing providers, there are also platforms where individuals can offer their own car – for example, Drivy, Getaway or SnappCar.
A classic among the ridesharing offerings are shared rides across platforms like Blablacar. These trips will save the passenger transport law, as long as the trips are not operated commercially.
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