The convenience of gathering different modes of transportation in one single MaaS (Mobility as a Service) platform poses as an increasing trend amongst global actors. Now, Berlin’s public transport company (BVG) has announced their upcoming release of a new MaaS app called Jelbi, that will include mobility services in terms of bike-sharing, scooters, ride-hailing, car-sharing, carpooling, taxis and the entire public transportation system.
Jelbi – that will launch this summer – is an action from BVG to become a system integrator of mobility rather than letting other private companies take the lead. They point out the importance of including public transport from the beginning to fully understand the movements of people, what services they use and how to cope with issues of congestion and local emissions.
The tech company that built the platform for BVG, Trafi, is also being deployed elsewhere by private companies like Lyft and is already being scouted by other cities who want to mimic the Berlin case.
One might argue that Berlin is still lagging compared to the topmost of MaaS providers, like Helsinki’s Whim app which offers different packages of monthly service utilization rather than only pay-as-you-go options. However, the fact that Berlin’s public transport company itself is launching Jelbi ahead of any third-party platforms opens up for significant advantages in promoting public transport. As opposite, the Helsinki transit agency has not yet opened up their ticketing for monthly pass subscribers of Whim, who instead have to buy new tickets for every trip. On one hand, the Berlin approach offers great possibilities for the public transport agency to sell tickets in bulk via MaaS platforms which might have positive effects on road congestion compared to everyone travelling by ride-hailing services. But on the other hand, this could eventually create a monopoly where new mobility companies are shut out.
Written by Hampus Alfredsson, RISE Viktoria.