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Cars are not at the core of MaaS – phones are

In the future, whether you travel by car, bus or bike, you are likely to control your vehicle with a mobile device. Read what else we’re about to see, according to three experts.

At Qvik’s Pizza&Beers event, we discussed what the future would be like without owning your own car. Modern travel trends from shared car ownership and public transportation to taxi services share one thing in common: a mobile phone. Cars won’t be opened with keys or paid with cash. Both booking and payments will be done with a mobile application.

Service providers approach the MaaS, aka mobility as a service, field from two angles. There are innovative and pioneering startups that go to market with a full-fledged product. In the event, this side was represented by Taxify’s Expansion Manager for Eastern Europe and Middle East, Jevgeni Beloussov, and MaaS Global’s Lead Designer for the Whim service, Apaar Tuli. Corporate giants are also active in the market, offering customers easy steps towards a more MaaS-friendly mindset. On this point of view, we heard OP’s Program Director for Mobility Services Sonja Heikkilä.

Based on the speeches, the MaaS scene will go through these three development stages.

Change in the general mindset. This is a tough one, but for MaaS to scale, there needs to be a real change in the mainstream mindset. Services following in Uber’s footsteps, like Taxify, are already in general use, but it will still take some time for MaaS services that offer various transport styles to become common.

Ownership traded for services. In urban areas, the desire to own your own car will lessen and cars become less attractive as personally owned assets. One car can have multiple users, and car rental services will become more common and easier to use. Transport services will also become more personalized and will mainly be used via mobile applications.

Automation. Self-driving cars will start spreading from the USA. While there still are technical issues to be solved, it does seem clear that robotic cars are about to happen and become a big thing. Automation by itself doesn’t solve the problem of limited space in cities though, and that’s why automated cars are likely to become a part of MaaS.

MaaS is at an interesting stage. While there are comprehensive MaaS services available already, they still haven’t reached the mainstream audience. With its current concept, MaaS is not ready to function in rural areas. Instead, its potential customers are citizens who don’t use their car that much and a younger generation that doesn’t consider car ownership necessary or financially sensible. MaaS is ideal for a new generation that prioritizes access over ownership.

But what is certain is that we will see a change in the transport scene. As city populations keep growing and urbanization continues, there will simply be no room for more cars in the cities of the future. The natural outcome would be to find a way to combine various travel methods and provide effortless mobility, thereby giving a strong reason for people to consider giving up privately owned cars.