The economic impact of Corona crisis is visible in every part of the economy. On a personal level, we can all see that whilst delivery services are booming, the hospitality industry has been particularly hard hit. However what is still unknown, is what the impact will be on relatively young businesses such as platforms for Mobility as a Service (MaaS), i.e. operators of shared mobility services.
My belief is that the demand for MaaS as alternative means of transport will grow, but not before the majority of competition is killed due to the COVID-19 lockdowns. Realistically, only those select operators with deep pockets will be able to stay the course in an industry that was already in a fierce fight to reach break-even. The competitive landscape post-lockdown will look very different, and most likely fast growth will be realised through acquisitions (although these themselves are limited in appeal as it also required the take-over of debts) or simply because there’s less competition left.
As long as public policy-makers stick to the goals of Smart Cities and Smart Mobility, this shouldn't become a major concern. MaaS, in fact, could add real value in a post-COVID-19 environment, helping policy-makers manage the demands of scarce public space and adding value to the new environment in which we all need to adjust to.
The shift in focus from transport ownership towards transport usage is the only way forward in urban areas. However, this will only work if there is easy access to all modes of transport needed by the end-user. Public policy-makers should keep in mind that shared mobility programs should keep in mind that it's not up to them, but the public to choose the mode of transport needed: some need a car, some a (e)bike, e-scooter or a cargo bike. Availability of shared mobility is needed on each street corner to really enable a model shift. This network of shared mobility should also have easy connections with public transport, meaning it will have physical consequences in public space as well (creating transport hubs).