Multimodal Mondays: How to provide a great customer experience
Multimodal mobility is fast becoming the biggest opportunity for us (as service providers and operators) to design seamless-interconnected journeys and to reimagine movement within urban cities. Multimodal mobility is the term used to describe integrated transport – seamless connectivity between different modes of transportation, such as buses, ferries, trains, trams, ridehailing, bikes, e-scooters and even walking.
Welcome to the November edition of the Multimodal Mondays micro-webinar series – which is also the last of 2021! This month Sandra is joined by a group of four experts with a vast array of skills and experience. Aurelien Cottet is the International Sales Director from instant system, Bertrand Attard is the COO of GoTo Global, Haya Verwoord Douidri, VP of Global Market Development, Policy and Strategy at Superpedestrian and Camile dos Santos Machado, Project Manager, New Mobility at TransLink. Our exciting mix of experts discuss how they put the ‘S’ in MaaS to provide the best customer experience for their users.
Watch the micro-webinar below! Keep reading to learn more about the guest panel and for a brief summary of their multimodal discussion. Check out episode four here.
International Sales Director | instant system
Instant System publishes and markets “Mobility as a Service” (MaaS) solutions for public authorities and transport operators. Their ambition is to simplify urban mobility thanks to a MaaS platform managed by public authorities and transport operators. They integrate all mobility offers in the territory (public transport, bike sharing, car sharing, carpooling, ride hailing, parking, etc.) in order to offer citizens a seamless, intermodal transport experience, from route finding to payment.
Chief Operating Officer | GoTo Global
GoTo Global is an end-to-end multimodal vehicle sharing service provider with a mission to reduce the number of privately-owned vehicles in cities. They do so by offering people multiple ways of traveling from point A to point B including shared cars, mopeds, bicycles, and kick-scooters. They cover all the personal mobility needs with one membership and one app. They operate in Spain, Israel, Malta and most recently Germany, where they acquired a moped sharing company.
Haya Verwoord Douidri
VP Global Market Development, Policy and Strategy | Superpedestrian
Superpedestrian is a world leader in transportation robotics and human-scale mobility. Founded out of MIT in 2013, Superpedestrian develops technologies for micro-electric vehicles that optimize safety, reliability, and performance. They hold over 50 patents in artificial intelligence, technologies and active safety features. In 2020 they launched their shared mobility division and they currently operate across 50 cities in 6 countries in Europe and the U.S. and Canada.
Camile dos Santos Machado
Project Manager, New Mobility | TransLink
TransLink is Metro Vancouver’s regional transportation authority. They manage and operate an integrated regional transportation system — connecting communities by bus, rail, SeaBus, custom transit services, pedestrian and cycling paths, the Major Road Network and five bridges. At the same time, they also help deliver the region’s goal of creating a greener, more sustainable, more livable Metro Vancouver. The New Mobility team has a mandate to strengthen Translink’s innovation which includes prototyping, piloting and scaling promising new transportation technology and service concepts, which includes MaaS.
Multimodal Mondays: How to provide a great customer experience
What have been the challenges and subsequent learnings from the Shared Mobility Compass Card pilot that you will take into the second phase to provide a great customer experience?
Camile: The objective with the Shared Mobility Compass Card pilot was to create a minimally viable project in a closed business setting, targeting local companies in Metro Vancouver. They wanted to learn whether a product like this would appeal to consumers and if it would influence their mode choices. The pilot ran for 10 months. It started in September 2019 and ran throughout the beginning of the pandemic, which had a big impact on the pilot project. Based on the feedback from those who were involved in the pilot, they are now preparing to launch phase two which will be consumer facing pilot. The key lessons learned were:
- The importance of trust and collaboration between local mobility service providers. The first phase of the pilot was very important to lay down the foundation for any future consumer facing roll out.
- The physical compass card that all people living in Metro Vancouver use for public transit was used throughout the pilot. It was very well received but there was still a lot of strong feedback that they should offer a digital experience of the services as well in the next phase.
- The also learned that they needed a backend that was more automated. During the pilot it worked well for a business setup, but as they migrate to consumer facing deployment, they feel like having some specialized mobility service behind could help them solve some of their operational challenges, such as, registration, customer service etc.
A few weeks ago, you announced that GoTo acquired emmy, obviously a very strategic deal that helps GoTo offer even more different vehicle types. How does GoTo build their customer experience and also their customer loyalty?
Bertrand: GoTo likes to use the term ‘mobility confidence.’ What riders and commuters really want is to find an asset that’s going to help them fulfill their trip. GoTo realizes, that users, although they may be habitual users of a given mode, they could also be mode agnostic. GoTo offers their users multiple ways to get from point A to B, including cars, mopeds, scooters etc. using one simple piece of technology and by simplifying the transactionality. In a lot of cities, users will have to bounce from one app to another in order to achieve this, but GoTo offers all their modes on one interface. The modes proposed are also very dependent of the type of journey, how many people are travelling, the time of day and the time of year.
Recently, GoTo acquired emmy, a shared moped operator in Germany. They realized that Winter and mopeds don’t usually mix so a lot of their users change their travel habits in the colder months, but they are still commuting around cities. Providing a multi-asset solution, GoTo allows it’s users to choose a mode depending on what they need that day and how they would like to get there, providing a great overall customer experience.
What have you learnt from your integration with public transit operators and how do you bridge the reliability of a timed trip (bus) to an on-demand trip (scooters)?
Haya: In both cases it’s about reliability. In the case of public transit, it’s all about timing. Will the bus be on time? When can I expect it? For Superpedestrian, it’s all about availability which is very similar to reliability. Making sure their scooters are available, where they are needed is very important for Superpedestrian. Building out hubs and deployment centers next to public transit stations – so that you don’t have to look on an app and search for a vehicle – is vital to ensuring availability and reliability.
They also use different software to create demand responsive routes, to rebalance scooters to where people need them the most and when they need them the most during the day. By analyzing public transit times and this demand data, Superpedestrian are able to build a rebalancing plan to ensure the availability of their scooters is high, which creates a constant and consistent service. The basis for true modal shift in communities is building trust with the users and collaborating with cities. Collaboration with cities can be challenging because a lot of the time you are working with different jurisdictions and different agencies and you need to make sure you are creating consistent, seamless journeys for everyone.
Instant system has implemented MaaS in cities of all sizes – big and small. What have you learned when it comes to expectations and the types of customer experience you have to offer in different locations?
Aurelien: It’s important to remember that in medium sized cities, the private car is always there. If you think about MaaS, you have to include the private vehicle, otherwise you will miss many people. Most people living the in the center of medium cities will already know how to move around using public transit and shared mobility services. The real people who are in need of MaaS are those living in distant suburbs who need to commute to the city. In 2013, instant system developed and intermodal trip planner, including the private car with parking, to link these people with public transport.
The first thing you need for MaaS are the right components. You need to have good quality traveling information in real-time. People are so use to being able to track their Uber car in real-time on the app, so we should have the same for public transport. Being able to see the multimodal and intermodal options, including the private vehicle is also very important.
Instant system created MaaS within cities step-by-step. For example in larger cities, like New York, there will be so many different options and providers, it is easier to create a MaaS system. However, in medium cities where there may only be one carshare provider, one bike share provider etc. it’s important to realize that MaaS may not solve everyones mobility problems. It’s important for MaaS to also include a solution or part of the trip, that makes use of the private car – which means users have an overall great customer experience and it could potentially nudge people into using new mobility services and changing travel behaviour.
We know that people are already using shared mobility services, but how do we onboard the people who aren’t using these services into our shared transportation ecosystems?
Figuring out whom to target and how to effectively communicate with o these people is key, especially before launching a project or pilot. For example, Translink is finalizing their T2050, which is an extensive consultation process. They identified five reliability goals for successful transportation systems, which include convenience, reliability, affordability, safety and comfort and carbon-free solutions. If you want to create a customer mode shift, the service not only has to be easy, but it has to feel easy. The technology, data and solutions all need to be seamless and simple, especially for first time users. Investing in a layer of customer information and by underpinning this with instantaneous customer service, helps customers gain confidence.
What’s your #MobilityWish?
Haya: More bike lanes. It’s amazing how little space bike lanes take up in our cities and how useful they are, especially now that we have more modes that could benefit from them, like e-scooters.
Camile: A simpler way for people to transfer in the physical world, for example creating more mobility hubs – which is still a very challenging thing to do.
Bertrand: Conducive legislation will make shared mobility less of a clutter and a burden on cities. Once we meet the tipping point (which legislation will help us with) things will really change.
Aurelien: B2C – not Business to Customer, but Business to Citizen. It’s important for companies to make money, but mobility should be a right for everyone, so it’s about creating trust with users. My mobility wish is to see B2G and B2C companies working together to create mobility systems that are inclusive and equitable.
If you would like to watch more of our #MultiModalMondays webinar series’ visit here.