Making all this happen will depend on the forging of complex new relationships between thousands of UK transport businesses in order to create smart, new ecosystems. Transportation is a market that can require millions of pounds in losses before the right business model is finalised, and there will be many incumbents (such as the train operating companies mentioned above) who may see MaaS as a threat to their current business models.
It will therefore be essential to convince those incumbents that they can still enjoy net gains – by taking a slightly smaller slice of a much bigger pie for example. There will also be an important role for policy makers and regulators, in removing the legislative and structural market barriers that might otherwise stifle innovation.
Worth the work
If this all sounds like a lot of hard work, it’s because it will be. But it’s important to emphasise that the rewards should also be massive.
Other markets have already found that consumers are willing to pay more for greater convenience or a better customer experience – the challenge is for transport operators to find ways to do the same. Additionally, as the MaaS market matures, providers (and their partner companies) will be able to capture new revenue opportunities by developing innovative in-vehicle services that monetise passenger travel.
We are already familiar with the willingness of low-cost airlines to sometimes take a loss on the initial price of a flight, in order to benefit from related add-ons (such as meals, internet access or additional leg-room) or the even more lucrative ‘bundling’ together of hotel, travel insurance and hire car deals. A similar approach for trains, buses and (eventually) self-driving cars, may well prove fundamental to the formulation of successful MaaS business cases in the future.
The question then changes from ‘How do we get to this future way of travelling?’ to more concrete discussions, such as ‘What would you like to do while travelling?’ or (for the MaaS innovator) ‘What else can we offer consumers that they would be willing to pay for’
As they eye this huge new market, those looking to invest in MaaS will see the opportunity of extracting value from consumers during the roughly 1000 trips we make each year, whether it be in a 20-minute taxi ride, an 80-minute train journey, or even while walking.
As new arrivals in the transport ecosystem, MaaS providers will of course have to gain the trust of their potential customers. Understanding those customers, and the purpose of their journeys, will be as important as the act of providing mobility. But once you know your customer and his or her needs, you will be able to create a journey experience that includes specifically-tailored services that they are happy to pay for.”
This article was originally published by the RSSB under the title “The journey ahead: What will the future of New Mobility Services look like for you and me?”