This month on our shared mobility by region series, we are looking at the current offerings available in the shared mobility market of Poland. For this article, Adam Jędrzejewski, the Founder and CEO of Mobilne Miasto (Mobile City), shared his insights and experience in the industry with us. Mobilne Miasto’s goal is to bring shared mobility to a larger market with the vision of less congested and polluted cities – with an ultimate reduction in the number of privately owned vehicles.
According to the most recent market report “Close to a breakthrough” as of mid 2019 there are currently 37,000 shared vehicles (bikes, kick scooters, mopeds, cars) available in over 70 Polish cities. This means these vehicles are available for almost 12 million citizens across the region. However, even with a sharing infrastructure in place, Poland’s car ownership statistics are still very high. Culturally, owning a car in Poland can be a symbol of independence and prosperity, particularly within the older generation. On the other hand, attitudes towards car ownership is gradually changing, particularly with the younger generation who understand that freedom and independence can be achieved using shared mobility networks.
Keep reading to learn more about shared mobility in Poland and the services currently provided, such as carshare, ride hail, micromobility and how the country is moving towards more sustainable methods of transportation such as electric vehicles.
To read more articles in our Shared Mobility By Region series, click here.
Shared Mobility by Region: poland
shared mobility poland: carshare
In 2013, GoGet, a mobility start-up was established in the city of of Wroclaw. Their goal was to introduce a carsharing to the city. After two years of technology development they launched their service in July 2015 with one car. This effectively initiated carsharing in Poland. Since 2013 the market has seen a dramatic increase in carshare operators.
In 2017, three new companies began operating across the region resulting in a 13 times increase in terms of car sharing members and the number of vehicles in the fleet. Car share providers in operation quickly scaled their services in the most car sharing-friendly cities of Poland, where the number of young people and vehicle density are the highest.
While carsharing has become a popular mode of transportation in Poland, it isn’t the screaming success it should and could be. Currently carsharing is still a owned and operated by private companies. In order for it to grow, adapt and disrupt the market, central and local governments need to get more involved. If this happened they could, for example, provide residents with incentives for using shared services. These incentives would greatly work towards limiting the use of old vehicles which contribute to the high levels of smog across the region. Removing or banning these vehicles from the roads would only create a negative attitude towards these newer mobility models, instead if incentives were given, car ownership numbers could drop organically.
For carsharing to be completely successful, investments need to be made in shared mobility including EV carsharing. Energy companies – which in Poland are mainly state-owned – actually have a lot to gain from investing in e-mobility solutions, for example, creating more hybrid and electric vehicles fleet would perfectly align with Polands’ 2017 Electromobility Act, the aim of which is to have 1 million electric vehicles the road by 2025. In order for this to work, however, the electric vehicle infrastructure would need to be adapted and upgraded throughout Polish cities.
BREAKDOWN OF OPERATING CARSHARE PROVIDERS
Kraków was the first city to Traficar’s car-sharing service in October 2016. Traficar, like many other carshare models, allows its members to book vehicle through a smartphone app. You can’t leave the car outside city limits – but you can drive it to another Polish city like Wrocław, Poznan, Tri-City (Trojmiasto) or Katowice where Traficar operates. The vehicles can be returned and parked in any area of the city, and customers can also park in municipal paid parking zones for free.
PANEK has more than 1400 vehicles in its fleet which includes city cars, limousines, SUVs and more. You only pay for the time and the kilometres you have travelled. You do not have to pay for fuel, parking in paid parking zones, maintenance and insurance. Once you register you will be able to use cars located in and around Warsaw using the apps map on your smartphone. When you finish with the vehicle you have to park it within the PANEK CarSharing zone. PANEK is available for residents of Warsaw, Lublin, Cracow, Wroclaw and Trojmiasto.
innogy go! is the first completely electric, petrol-free carsharing service available in Warsaw. Each member will have access to a fleet of electric BMW i3 vehicles when they need it. Due to be a fully electric service, an incentive of using innogy go! as your carshare services is the ability to drive in bus lanes. Avoid rush hour traffic jams once and for all! You also only have to pay for the rental and do not incur extra fees like milage, parking meters, car charging etc. so you save money. Also, the BMW i3 has zero-emissions so when you register, you are actively helping battle smog levels in the city.
MiiMove carshare services are available in the Tri-city area of Poland which consists of Gdańsk, Gdynia and Sopot and offers its users 400 Opel Astras that can be rented for minutes or days. From the beginning of its activity, the company providing shared car services from Gdynia informed about the plans to introduce electric drive models to its fleet. This month it will add 10 electric Opel Ampera-e vehicles to its fleet with plans to further expand its fleet with another alternative-powered Opel in 2020.
4Mobility is carshare operator that provides both fuel-powered and electric vehicles in it’s fleet. At 4Mobility you only pay for the time of using the car and the distance traveled. You don’t pay for fuel and parking in the Paid Parking Zone in the city. The company currently has registered users in Warsaw and Poznan.
Vozilla is the first Municipal electric car rental company in Poland, which has been operating in Wrocław since November 4, 2017. The project is the result of a public-private partnership agreement signed in February 2017 between the City of Wrocław and Enigma – the system operator. Thanks to the contract with the city of Wrocław, system users can enjoy many privileges, including free parking in the city’s paid parking zone, 200 special parking spaces in the very centre of Wroclaw intended only for Vozilla electric cars, the possibility of using bus lanes and entering closed zones for combustion cars.
Using our methodology, we assessed the number of cars available for rent on average from the other big carshare operators in the industry such as, EasyShare with 166 vehicles in its fleet, CityBee with 126 vehicles, GreenGoo with 12 electric vehicles and eCar Tauron with 8 electric vehicles.
shared mobility Poland: ride hailing
Currently, the top three ride hail services operating across the big cities in Poland are FreeNow (formerly mytaxi), Bolt (formerly Taxify) and Uber.
Poland is Uber’s third biggest market in the EU – the world’s most valuable startup operates in most major Polish cities. The hype around the Californian business was so big that, initially, many Poles tried to book a journey with Uber before the firm officially started its operations in Poland.
However, despite Uber’s initial success and popularity within the region, Poland’s government has recently created new legislation that will require Uber and other ride-sharing companies to use only licensed taxi drivers beginning in 2020. The government claims that the new law will “ensure fair and equal competitiveness, passenger safety and efficient control of this type of economic activity.”
This new legislation is being passed in the wake of the taxi driver protests on the streets of Poland earlier this year. Licensed taxi drivers went on strike several times – causing massive disruption to traffic in Warsaw – to protest against the unfair practices of both Uber and Bolt – which offered similar services but at a much lower price. When these companies were introduced, unlicensed ride hailing drivers were allowed to enter the city and begin moving passengers around straight away, without having to maintain a permit and spend hundreds of hours training, so costs were obviously much cheaper.
However, although ride hail drivers will now have to get a license, the bill introduced a number of changes that will make it easier to do so. It is no longer necessary for drivers to undergo an exam on road knowledge and road rules in order to gain a licence and a mobile app which allows passengers to pay for ride-sharing services, as well as taxis, was also introduced. This new bill will perhaps see a more unified price chart for transport services across the country as drivers who are caught breaking the rules will face a fine of up to PLN 2,000 (508 USD).
shared mobility poland: micromobility
Polish cities are starting to catch-up with other cities in Europe with regards to alternative methods of transportation. Residents of Polish cities are more frequently taking advantage of new, cheaper and more ecological modes of transport and are following the global trend in micromobility. Residents are reaching out for transportation solutions which allow for the covering of short distances with the aid of lightweight, battery-powered vehicles, such as scooter, bikes and mopeds.
In a recently-released report by Deloitte, Rafal Nessel, Deloitte’s Senior Tech Consulting Manager said,
“We are moving away from ownership in the direction of sharing, renting and using various transport services depending on need… Although it is difficult to predict what solutions will gain popularity and what business models will be successful, this leading trend seems irresistible.”
Bike sharing in Poland is almost 100% subsidized by cities and ordered through tenders that usually between 2-4 years. All other modes of micromobility such as kick scooters and mopeds are purely business initiatives with no tenders or incentives from the public sector.
Bicycles are an example of an eco-friendly means of transport. Using no fossil fuels and producing no noise or air pollution, bikes help to improve sustainable urban mobility which is why they have been a popular means of transport in Poland. In 2017, there were 2.2 million users registered of 70 bike sharing systems in the region. The country’s fleet of shared bicycles currently has over 25,000 in operation. By far, the bike share market leader in Poland is Nextbike who have 20,792 bikes in operation, which is a massive 82% of the market. Nextbike Polska is a leader in supplying and running self-service city bike rentals. It has been operating in Poland since 2011 and in Finland since 2017. It offers comprehensive solutions to supplement traditional public transport on the first and last kilometers of travel. The company cooperates with local governments and business partners by creating and expanding the largest and most popular bicycle systems in Poland. Over 8 million people have access to Nextbike bikes in dozens of cities in Poland.
The second biggest bike share provider in the region is BikeU. BikeU has been operating in Poland since 2014 as a part of French group Egis, which is present in over 100 countries all over the world. The company offers self-service bike rental stations for short-time bikes rentals which may be rented and returned in one of many rental stations located in convenient points of each city. The service is available in Cracow, Bielsko-Biala, Bydgoszcz, Torun and Lomza.
There are currently there are no regulations in place, for personal light electric vehicles (PLEVs) such as kick scooters, but legislation is underway. A new proposal, currently in the works, will change regulation so that electric kick scooters will only be allowed in bicycle lanes, not be available to children under the age of ten and be no wider that 90cm with a length of 1.25 metres. These new regulations are far from perfect. Short term electric scooter rental has been developing quickly in major Polish cities and injuries are occurring not only to pedestrians, but to the scooter users as well. Not to mention damage to the vehicles also. Perhaps one solution for decluttering the pavements and avoiding unnecessary damage and incidents would be to introduce dedicated stations for e-scooters? With the option to park on the pavement for an extra fee?
There are also environmental concerns for shared e-scooters. Just because battery-powered scooters don’t emit pollution out of a tailpipe doesn’t mean they’re “emissions free,” or as “eco-friendly” as initially assumed. The actual climate impact of the vehicles depends heavily on how they’re made, what they’re replacing, and how long they last. As shared e-scooters are a relatively new mobility trend, it’s too soon to track their long term, environmental impact.
That being said, the popularity of this new mode of transport is apparent, especially with regards to shared mobility in Poland. The top three market leaders in the shared (kick) e-scooter market are Lime with 4,500 vehicles in their fleet, which represents 41% of the total market, followed by Bird with 2,298 vehicles and Hive takes third place with 2,141vehicles.
Poland’s two-wheeled electric transport revolution does only refer to foot powered scooters only, but moped-style scooters as well. Similar to kick e-scooters, the companies providing moped scooter sharing systems are privately own which means little or no public incentives for their users. This means that moped adoption is much slower than other forms of mobility – this is also due to the seasonality of the vehicles – no one wants to use a moped in winter when they have access to a carshare vehicle for example. That being said, there are over 2,000 shared mopeds available across 20 cities in Poland with 6 key providers. The top three leaders in the market are Blinkee with 1200 scooters, representing 45% of the market. Blinkee is also operational in over 18 cities across the country. In second place is Hop.City with 515 scooters available followed by ecoshare with 458 vehicles in operation.
EV Adoption in Poland
In 2017 the Polish government adopted a new law on electromobility aimed at turning Poland into an e-mobility leader in Europe. The country aims to have 1 million EVs on the road by 2025. Poland seems like an unlikely candidate to become a market leader in electric vehicles with only 815 registered electric vehicles in January-May 2018. However, after the first five months of 2019 that number has increased to 1,633. This increase matches GreenWay’s timeline for developing their network of over 100 fast chargers in the country, which makes the total number 694. Perhaps with the right infrastructure in place, people are more willing to go electric. Poland is also home to electric bus manufacturing plants, a large EV battery plant and more recently, Toyota has picked the region of Silesia in southern Poland as the site for a new electric/hybrid car manufacturing factory.
With the new legislation, local authorities are mandated to play an important role in the rollout of electromobility. Under the Act, for example, administration in regional authorities (below 50 000 habitants) must ensure that a minimum of 30% of their bus fleets are electric. The Act also defines basic terms such as charging point, charging station, electric vehicle and alternative fuels and it establishes a framework for building a basic alternative fuels infrastructure. The law also introduced incentives to people who chose to drive electric cars, such as exempting them from excise tax and allowing them to drive in bus lanes .
THE FUTURE OF SHARED MOBILITY POLAND
One example of what the future looks like for shared mobility, is Poland’s first multimodal mobility hub pilot, on commercial real estate, lead by Mobile City.
Mobility Hubs are multimodal mobility hot spots that arrange and combine a variety of shared mobility services in one area. Mobility Hubs are designed for specific designated areas located on private real estate (next to different type of buildings: residential, office, retail, hotel & accommodation) or public real estate (next to municipal and public buildings, train stations, interchange stations, etc.) offering access to different types of shared vehicles (such as bikes, kick e-scooters, mopeds, cars) and correspondent infrastructure (small architecture, chargers, vehicle stands, greenery). These hubs give users a choice which are available 24/7 and are designed in order to improve the accessibility of real estate through shared mobility services.
According to Founder and CEO Adam Jędrzejewski,
“Shared mobility can actually increase the value of real estate. Owners and property managers of apartment buildings, shopping malls, and office buildings all want to increase their take up and footfall. Shared mobility is key in facilitating access to these hot spots which means more clients, greater profitability and higher value.”
One application that is integrating all types of urban mobility in Poland is Vooom. This company is offering many types of alternate transportation options within each city – using one technology platform. The app allows you to plan, book and pay for travel in one application. From the Vooom application level, you can see currently available vehicles for shared journeys in 12 largest cities in Poland including Warsaw, Wrocław, Tricity, Poznań, Krakow, Katowice, Lublin, Łódź, Szczecin, Bydgoszcz. Additionally in Warsaw, the app allows you to track the location of buses and trams. The vehicles and services include car sharing systems, electric scooters, scooters, city bikes and public transport. Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) schemes and pilots such as Vooom have started to pop up in major cities across the world. It appears that integrated transportation is (and will be) the future, for not just Poland, but urban centres across the world.
Perhaps the future of shared mobility in Poland will be centred around autonomous vehicles? Thanks to an ongoing City of Ideas process, Jaworzno, a city in southern Poland, west of Krakow, created a special legal framework for the city in 2017, that supports the operation of autonomous cars and trucks, most of which will be powered by electricity.
“Taking over Jaworzno as an experimental zone for testing electric and autonomous cars is one of the concepts of e-mobility development in the city,” Paweł Silbert, Mayor of Jaworzno.
Not only that, but Jaworzno is also thinking about bringing a Hyperloop test track to the city, using land previously utilized by a railroad. The city is already an electromobility leader in Poland with 40 % of its local public transport fleet currently made up of electric vehicles. However, the city authorities now want to double that figure to achieve an 80% share and hopes to create a zero-emission semi-autonomous bus fleet that is fully operational by the end of 2019.
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.