5. August 2016–
The mobility market is usually marked by huge, rather slowly implemented changes. But whenever a change comes, it’s disruptive. It’s still what it once was - planes, trains and automobiles - but new technology is changing how we access and utilize these means of transportation. And it’s doing it in a huge way.
Some people refer to it as the fourth industrial revolution. Industry and technology have converged and it’s led to more environmentally-friendly options (ahem, Tesla), smart cars, sharing apps and big shifts in how we think about transportation. Gone are the days of waiting to hail a cab in the rain.
So what’s next for mobility? What comes after Uber?
Allygator Shuttle, a new shuttle service that launches in Berlin today, might give a clue. Their idea? Passengers order a pick-up by app and then are collected by drivers carrying other passengers. In a word: a shuttle. An algorithm calculates the fastest way to the destination, trying to avoid congestion and traffic. It sounds good but what’s the difference between this and a regular old bus?
Well, for one it’s on-demand. You get the benefit of being picked up which is, let’s be honest, a huge plus when you’re out of a city. But what about in a city? What about in Berlin?
Berlin is one of the most well-connected cities I’ve been to. That said, it’s not like that everywhere. In Toronto, for example, there are two subway lines and tightly-packed tram cars in between. While I might not use Allygator in Berlin, I’m much more likely to use it in Toronto or in a city or town with fewer stops. When I lived in Rome, where the bus service is notoriously unreliable, I might have given it a go. But in my hometown, I’d still drive my car.
But what also works to its advantage is the price. Allygator costs 10 cents per kilometer and depending on the distance, that may well work out to be cheaper than an U-bahn ride. Obviously that’s a huge incentive. We saw it with Uber. People were fed up with expensive taxi rides and so a gap in the market formed. Is this the next gap?
I still believe car sharing is what we will see flourish. Peer-to-peer services like Drivy interest me the most. We all thought it would be uncomfortable having a stranger sleep in our bed and use our dishes but look at Airbnb. If you want to make some extra cash and you own a car, why not rent it out to someone who needs it? But, as Deloitte points out, “change will happen unevenly around the world.” Different populations require different modes of transportation - and it’s exciting to think of what will come next. Let’s see what Berliners will love!