We’ve grown used to organising our lives with a few clicks or taps: buying tickets, finding information, dating and chatting via an app. Smart algorithms suggest trips, products and films that suit us and our habits. What’s more, we’re increasingly reliant on technological innovations to protect the environment and the climate. This goes for mobility, too.
New digital mobility concepts are part of this zeitgeist: ridepooling, for example, differs from conventional taxi-type services due to its use of real time communication technology. It’s easy to use via an app and offers flexibility and individuality thanks to smart algorithms. Requests for rides are processed in real time, pooled, and an optimal route for all the passengers compiled within seconds – in contrast to the set departure times and routes of public transport.
Sharing rides by means of a service is not a new idea: music and films are streamed, and holiday accommodation, workspaces and clothing are shared. And cars themselves, of course. As Switzerland’s leading car sharing company, Mobility has long been committed to economic and ecological sharing. The population is well aware how the concept works by now. That’s an advantage when it comes to introducing further innovative concepts of that nature.
Carsharing is well established and refers to the shared use of a vehicle by multiple people at different times. Users drive themselves. Available to them are some 3’000 vehicles stationed at 1500-plus Mobility locations spread across Switzerland. Occupying a variety of categories – large, small, sporty, practical, electric – the vehicles cover a range of demands from Mobility’s customers. The service is perfect for people who don’t own a car but want to drive themselves.
Ridesharing is where someone driving to a destination in their car offers a lift to others – either free of charge or for an agreed sum. The driver’s route is non-negotiable. Here, too, there are platforms where rides of this nature – mostly commuting or long-distance trips – can be arranged.
On-Demand-Mobilität is an umbrella term for services that are accessed via some kind of a booking engine. The USP of this concept is that there are no set times or routes. If someone wants to go somewhere, the service will take them. Subcategories of on-demand mobility include ridepooling and ridehailing, two commercial concepts with technological infrastructures involving users being driven to their destination:
Ridehailing refers to obtaining a ride in a taxi or with similar service such as Uber. The vehicle is occupied solely by the person or persons placing the order at the onset of the ride. The customer determines the start and set-down points and travels individually and directly from A to B. Mobility also provides a ridehailing service: i&any’s “Express Ride” will pick you and your companions up and take you directly to where you want to go.
Ridepooling involves one vehicle picking up multiple unconnected passengers, who share all or part of the route. Ridepooling is a commercial service employing professional drivers. April saw Mobility launch its convenient i&any ridepooling service, which offers inexpensive shared rides in Zurich at the weekend.
Users wishing to get from A to B by means of Mobility’s ridepooling and ridehailing service use the i&any app to book rides in electric vehicles. The service is initially available in Zurich between 6 pm and 4 am, Thursday to Saturday. The employed driver picks up passengers at virtual stops dotted throughout the city. Worth noting: there’s no need for a Mobility subscription or membership. The routes and requests are optimised and coordinated by smart algorithms using artificial intelligence. This helps keep vehicle numbers and travel costs down. What’s more, the system aims to keep empty running and downtime to a minimum. Good for the environment, good for your wallet!
And as indicated earlier, anyone preferring to travel straight to their destination, alone and without anyone else boarding the vehicle along the way, can do so using Express Ride.
Details at: www.iandany.ch
New, individual and networked forms of mobility such as ridepooling are seen as major mega trends in local transport circles; they are considered an important intermediate step towards autonomous driving. Experts foresee data-driven ridepooling using self-driving vehicles as the perfect combination of private car and public transport, where people travel together with others and yet autonomously and individually. MOIA, a Volkswagen Group company with offices in Berlin and Hamburg, has stated its intention of developing an autonomous, internationally scalable ridepooling system in Hamburg by around 2025.
But going by the increasing demands from passengers and their usage behaviour, services such as ridepooling are already in the zeitgeist. Studies show that people typically opt for such services of their own volition, as they would have alternatives (unlike in public transport). Small wonder: offers like i&any, where rides are shared, are practical as well as easy on the environment and on the wallet. What’s more, destinations can be reached more directly than by bus or tram. This saves time and having to walk. Why not give these advantages a try soon?