This month on our shared mobility by region series, we are examining the mobility offerings of Spain and Portugal. Europe is internationally recognized for its superior shared mobility services. Europe has made a choice to invest in sustainable mobility solutions which are headed by innovative transit agency leadership. Shared mobility platforms and services are in high demand overseas and this is due to purposeful policy and legislation planning by cities and governments.
There are also many initiatives working towards building mobility services and integrating technologies on the continent such as STARS, Shared mobility opportunities and challenges for European cities, which launched in October 2017. STARS explores the diffusion of car sharing in Europe, its connections with technological and social innovations, as well as its impact on other modes of transport. Another example is SMARTA, is a two-year project which aims to understand the potential of on-demand and shared mobility services integrated with public transport in the European rural areas.
In this month’s ‘Shared Mobility by Region’ article, we will be focusing on the shared mobility platforms and services on offer in Spain and Portugal, including carshare, bike share, ride-hailing and e-scooter providers, as well as alternative mobility offerings unique to European cities.
To read more articles in our Shared Mobility By Region series, click here.
Shared Mobility by Region: Spain and Portugal
Car Share Market in SPAIN
MADRID SHARED MOBILITY: CASE STUDY
Car sharing is well established in Madrid with over 3,000 vehicles in operation across a selection of car share providers, such as Ubeeqo, Respiro, Zity, car2go, emov and wible, over just a four year period. One in twelve people subscribe to one of the two main carsharing providers: car2go and Emov.
Authorities in the capital city have encouraged car sharing through a series of initiatives and incentives:
- The City made a commitment to reduce air pollution (Plan A of Air Quality & Climate Change).
- Beginning in January 2019, only zero emission vehicles were allowed in the restricted access area (RAA) in the centre of the city.
- 100% electric vehicles get free parking in SER area with no time limit.
- Hybrid vehicles get 50% parking discount and only 2 hours of parking.
- Taxis are to be replaced by a low or zero-emission vehicle starting 2025.
- Toyota will stop selling diesel vehicles in Spain in 2019.
- Dealers will subsidize $1K cost of charging station at home.
- Providing companies tax breaks for providing employees telecommuting (work from home), flexible schedules and adapting to a workforce that does not have access to their own vehicle.
BREAKDOWN OF OPERATING CARSHARE PROVIDERS
Ubeeqo is a European company specializing in fleet and mobility solutions for the business and consumer market, with offices in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK and targets multi-day trips.
Respiro is based in Madrid and was bought by car maker Seat last year. The startup was founded in 2010 as a pay-per-use car sharing service in city. The startup has revenues of €1.8 million with 15,000 active users and 200 electric and hybrid vehicles in its fleet. Respiro offers a variety of pricing options to accommodate all of its users, baby seats are available in some car and target hourly/day trips.
ZITY, a partnership between Renault and Ferrovial, is an electric car sharing service whose business model is based on renting electric vehicles by the minute in the city of Madrid. The company has a fleet of 658 vehicles covering a 96 km2 area, the largest of all city’s carsharing systems. You can prepay to get extra driving credit and they target either extremely short trips (per min) or longer trips 4h+ trips (pay 21 euros for 4 hours)
car2go has the first-mover advantage in Madrid and is a recognizable car sharing brand that has access to other European cities. In Madrid their fleet is entirely electric and focused on the Smart Brand. It is to be seen if and how the fleet might change after the merger of car2go with DriveNow.
Emov is an initiative by the PSA group and in just two years after its launch emov surpassed 200,000 users. It is the only carshare to eliminate insurance deductible, offer parking rates (so members can keep the vehicle) and like all others offers 100% electric cars in Madrid. Recently they added electric vans to their fleet.
Wible is a carsharing service that is a joint initiative by Kia and Repsol. Wible offers the user a Kia Niro Hybrid Plug-in. Wible has a larger territory than some of the other free-floaters and allows users to swap their personal vehicle by parking it at a suburban area station and use a EV to get into the city! Wible also offers a larger FF vehicle than car2go and emov.
However, regardless of the popularity and demand for carsharing in Madrid, carshare companies are struggling to expand into other major Spanish cities such as Barcelona, where Mayor Ada Colau says officials do not plan to draft car-sharing regulations until the end of 2019 and Valencia, who are currently drafting new carshare regulations, but until that framework is ready, they are at a standstill.
PEER-TO-PEER CARSHARING and carpooling
Amovens (now part of GoMore) started as an online ridesharing/carpooling platform, that allowed people to connect in order to travel together, most of the time between cities. They currently have around1.5 million active users in Spain, and 2.5 million across Europe. In 2015 they implemented a peer-to-peer car-rental service to the platform, and after that they added a collaborative leasing service, which allows people to lease a car and rent it out when they don’t use it.
Another very popular mobility service in Spain is BlaBlaCar. This is a French carpool/rideshare company founded in 2006 that currently has over 65 million users. The platform offers a service similar to Uber or Lyft, only that it’s focused on longer city-to-city travel rather than short trips that you would otherwise take a taxi for. It is a trusted community that links drivers with empty seats to passengers looking a ride in that same direction.
ride hailing market in SPAIN
Since 2017, ride hailing users has increased from 3.3 million to 4.7 million in Spain. Even with this clear growth in popularity, ride hailing is not as popular here as it is in other European countries. As of January 2019 the revenue created from ride hailing in Spain amounted to US $402 million. This places Spain at number 23 in the Global revenue ranking.
Uber and Cabify are both operational across the country. Cabify, as of 2017, is currently available across eight Spanish cities including Madrid, Valencia, Bilbao, Vitoria, A Coruña, Málaga, and Sevilla and on the island of Tenerife.
Uber is available in fourteen Spanish cities, also including Madrid, Seville and Valencia. However, both ride hail platforms are not supported across the entire country. At the beginning of 2019, more than 26,000 taxi drivers stopped working in Madrid and Barcelona, bringing the 15,723 vehicles licensed to operate in the cities to a standstill. The stoppage was a means to protest against the increased presence of ride-hailing services within the cities.
The Catalonia regional government in Spain, ended the strike by agreeing to new rules that will regulate the hire of VTCs (non-licensed taxis or vehicles for hire with a chauffeur) which required Uber and Cabify to change how they operate in Barcelona and other local cities. Essentially the government wants to ensure that VTCs and taxis do not compete for the same work with these rules;
- VTC bookings to be made a minimum of 15 minutes in advance of a pick-up, with municipalities or local metropolitan areas able to require a longer wait time.
- VTC companies are prohibited from displaying the real-time geolocation of vehicles for hire in their apps prior to a booking. Only once a booking has been made can the location of the vehicle be displayed.
- VTC vehicles are banned from circulating in the streets in searching for trade. Instead they will be required to return to a base, such as a parking lot or a garage, to wait for the next booking.
In the wake of these rules both companies suspended their services in Barcelona. Uber’s Spanish spokesman, Yuri Fernández, argued that waiting 15 minutes to travel in a VTC doesn’t anywhere else in Europe and is totally incompatible with the immediacy of on-demand services, such as UberX.
However, Cabify has announced that it will again operate in Barcelona “having adapted its model to the restrictions imposed by the Catalan government”, returning with a 300-vehicle fleet “in an initial phase”.
EV AND AV ADOPTION IN SPANISH SHARED MOBILITY
SHARED ELECTRIC VEHICLES
Electric cars within the shared mobility market have been widely adopted in Madrid. Other cities have yet to catch up, but offer other electric vehicles as a means of transportation, for example motorcycles. The city of Madrid made a commitment to reduce air pollution, rolling out restricted areas available to only EVs, lower parking rates for EVs and all taxis to be replaced by a low or zero-emission vehicle starting 2025. With these EV positive strategies in place, it is easy to see why all the carshare operators in Madrid offer EV options to their users.
All carshare operators in Madrid offer electric vehicles in their fleets. In Madrid, up to 1,000 electric carsharing vehicles circulate daily. This is a great step towards better air quality and noise reduction in the core of Madrid. A recent study carried out by Berkeley University in American cities calculates that for each available shared car up to 11 private vehicles are taken out of circulation. The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and pollution is one of the major advantages of adopting this type of platform. For example with 100% renewable energy charging the car batteries, car2go’s 500 Smart cars have saved the environment 700 tonnes of CO2 in under two years.
In January, the DGT and Mobileye agreed to a collaboration intended to reduce road accidents and to prepare an infrastructure for future autonomous vehicles. Mobileye, an Israeli company specializing in vision technology has together with DGT, both companies aim to transform Barcelona into a large scale testing ground by introducing a 5,000-vehicle fleet in the city. Each vehicle will be equipped with the Mobileye 8 Connect technology and will create a map of the city that will help facilitate autonomous vehicle tests.
MicroMobility Offerings: SPAIN
Micromobility is very popular across Spanish cities. Shared electric mopeds and e-bikes are mobility offerings that are constantly in demand. Spanish micromobility startup MOVO recently secured €20 million in series of rounds of funding. The company currently operates in five countries, but with the latest success in funding, the company is looking to expand its business into new countries. MOVO is essentially an E-scooter and moped sharing platform that provides last mile connectivity to users and is a subsidiary of local ride-hailing firm Cabify. ECooltra is another company that offers shared mopeds and is the leader in scooter sharing in Europe, with a fleet of more than 4,500 electric scooters with a presence in 6 cities: Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia, Rome, Milan and Lisbon.
Another micro mobility offering that began with a bang is the push e-scooter movement. In August last year Lime rolled out hundreds of e-scooters across Madrid. As part of their international Respect the Ride campaign, Lime also hosted a road safety workshop geared towards sharing the advantages of micromobility with the senior citizen community.
However, along with Wind and VOI, the city of Madrid demanded that all Lime e-scooters be removed from the streets back in December, 2018 and refused to grant licenses to the three companies. The city justified the move on the grounds that they were not doing enough to inform people of their usage and safety rules. Barcelona, Spain’s second-largest city has also banned the use of shared electric scooters, unless the user is accompanied by a guide.
However, the ever changing landscape of micromobility, Mardrid has now reintroduced the mobility solution to the city, authorizing a total of 22 companies to provide shared electric scooters. This is part of its push to encourage more environmentally-friendly forms of transportation and reduce air pollution. It will allow a maximum of 10,000 electric scooters to be distributed across the city of some 3.2 million residents. Last week Uber launched its first electric kick scooter rental service in Europe, distributing 566 scooters across the Spanish capital.
Bike sharing is also popular method of transport across Spain, with companies like BiciMAD operating across a few of the major cities. BiciMAD supplies Madrid with 100% electric bicycles, offering a clean, healthy and sustainable method of transport. This service is available for all citizens and visitors to the city of Madrid. They have 1,560 electric bikes distributed among 123 stations. If you want to tour near the center of Madrid, BibiMAD is great since it has a low cost and wide range of bicycles, this decreases the further out you travel. Obike, another bike share provider, differs from others in the absence of fixed stations. Once the use of the bike ends, the user can park it anywhere in the city.
Car Share Market in PORTUGAL
In 2014, a case study was carried out in Lisbon, Portugal, to estimate the impacts of carsharing within the city. The results showed reductions of 47% in terms of energy consumption and, if a shift to hybrid or electric vehicles is made, 65% reductions in CO2 emissions. The results also estimated that vehicle ownership would be reduced to a 1 to 6 ratio.
However, there is currently only one carshare provider operational in Lisbon, DriveNow (part of Share Now). Share Now is the car sharing company of the new joint mobility venture between the BMW Group and Daimler AG. There are 211 BMW and MINI cars available around the city. However, DriveNow vehicles are limited to use within Lisbon only. At the end of each trip, the vehicle must be parked within the DriveNow zone.
Another service available across Portugal in CarAmigo. This is a peer-to-peer carsharing company that allows users to rent out their vehicle using an online platform. The benefits of using this service are
- Lower costs. Save between 30% and 50% compared to classic car rentals
- The insurance provided to Tranquilidade covers the vehicle in case of theft or accident
- Roadside assistance in partnership with Europ Assistance, covers the vehicle in case of a breakdown
ELECTRIC VEHICLE ADOPTION
In 2018, 8,241 plug-in vehicles were sold in Portugal, which is a massive 95% more than 2017 and more sold that the last ten years combined. It is clear to see that EVs are in high demand across the country. The rise in popularity of electric vehicles is because of the strong infrastructure in place across the country.
For example, the 195 miles between Lisbon and Porto has 189 charging stations along the route. In Portugal, there are currently two types of charging stations:
- Normal charging stations: At home, for fleets, on-street and off-street parking
- Fast charging stations: on main roads and highways and service stations
Portugal’s electric mobility program MOBI.E’s nationwide pilot network included 976 charging stations (968 normal and 8 fast chargers) for EVs spread across 25 cities as of the end of 2011, with a total of 1,350 stations planned for the initial phase.
European mobility companies have noticed this shift towards EV use in Portugal, including French company emov, who recently announced that they will be rolling out an all-electric carshare fleet, in Portugal’s capital city this month. Emov will be offering 150 electric cars (Citröen C-Zero), with four seats and five doors for use across Lisbon, that will be completely accessible via smartphone.
ride hailing market in PORTUGAL
Like most European countries, Portugal in no exception to the ever growing popularity of ride hail apps and services. The total revenue of the Portuguese ride hailing market amounted to US$72m in 2019 and is expected to grown annually by 4%.
There are five main operators in the ride hail market in Portugal:
Bolt (previously Taxify) is very popular in Portugal, particularly in Lisbon. They are also operational in Braga and Porto. New customers are offered €3 free credit and overall cost of trips are quite low. However, the on-demand services is not as fast as other companies operating in Portugal, such as Uber or Free Now.
Free Now (originally My Taxi) is a popular app that lets you hail a taxi from your phone. This can mean fares are more expensive than traditional ride hail platforms, like Taxify or Uber. However, the wait time is significantly less.
Uber is one of the most-recognised ride hail brands and therefore means it usually has the most drivers operating at any given time. However, factors like the weather can change the pricing of Uber rides in Portugal. For example, if it starts to rain, then prices surge. The company offers in services in Lisbon, Porto, Madeira, and the Algarve.
Kapten is one of the leading ridesharing players in France and recently launched in Lisbon with 2 million users in France and 80,000 users in Lisbon. By 2020, the company hopes to be operational in 15 major cities. It has quite a lot of drivers in Lisbon already, and is rapidly growing in popularity.
Cabify is a widely popular ride hail app, particularly in the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking world. It has a strong presence in countries such as Spain, Mexico and Brazil, with a growing presence in Central and South America. It’s also available in Portuguese cities, Lisbon, Porto, and Madeira.
A few other popular and notable mentions across Portugal are rideshare/carpool platforms such as CarpoolWorld and BlaBlaCar. Both companies connect drivers and passengers willing to travel together between cities and share the cost of the journey.
PORTUGUESE MicroMobility Offerings
Dockless electric scooters have popped up all across the city of Lisbon, there are currently eight startups in operation including Bungo, Flash, Hive, Iomo, Lime, Tier, Voi, or Wind. All in the wake of Lime’s successful e-scooter launch in the city last year.
While the design of the electric scooter has been around for years, the key innovation in recent years is the dockless rental model. All the companies share a similar pricing strategy: €1 to unlock and then 15 cents per minute to ride, which comes to €10 per hour.
It isn’t just Lisbon that is seeing the success and demand of e-scooter sharing. Faro has become the first town in the Algarve to have an electric scooter-sharing system, and Portimão is soon to follow. Faro’s first fleet operated by VOI was launched on February 11, just a few days before Flash launched its own network. The total ‘fleet’ for both companies is around 200 electric scooters.
Bike/e-bike rentals are very popular across Portugal. In total Portugal has 13 bike-sharing programs that function all year round throughout many cities such as Loja Buga in Aveiro, which has 33 stations and 350 bicycles and Mobi, which has 120 stations and 1200 bicycles in Cascais.
Initially in Lisbon, there was more competition in the market, however, like most other cities, there were problems with vandalism and maintenance, which forced oBike to suspend its services in the city. For a long time the only provider of shared e-bikes in the city was GIRA, but now Uber has launched its fleet of pedal-assisted electric bikes in the city, Jump Bikes. Just like Madrid, eCooltra also offers its shared moped services in Lisbon as another option of shared micromobility.
Is there another region you’d like to see covered in our Shared Mobility by Region series? We will be sharing one article every month covering a new region, and would love to hear your feedback and input here.
Note: This article has not been endorsed or sponsored by any of the providers mentioned and there is no affiliation between movmi and them.