Is Australia ready for MaaS?

By August 13, 2018 Uncategorised

As we head towards a very different looking automotive market in coming years, the term MaaS continues to bob its head up wanting us to take notice. In recent times MaaS (or Mobility as a Service) is slowly making its way outside of the fleet and automotive industry and into the general public’s lexicon.

MaaS itself is a relatively new – and perhaps confusing – term to many people. Transport industry leaders, Cubic Transportation Systems, neatly define it as:

… a combination of public and private transportation services within a given regional environment that provides holistic, optimal and people-centred travel options, to enable end-to-end journeys paid by the user as a single charge, and which aims to achieve public equity objectives.

The concept of MaaS has gained significant traction across Europe, but would it work for Australia’s largest capital cities? A recent study by ITS Australia sought to get some answers to determine if such a project has legs.

What transport options does MaaS usually cover?

Transport modes within a MaaS ecosystem are varied and can include: bus, train, ferry, tram, ride sharing, bike sharing, car hire, taxi, on-demand public transport, electric scooter, and walking. Indeed most people are already familiar with some form of integrated public transport offerings, but the aim of MaaS is to take the concept much further.

Are Australians interested in MaaS?

Well yes and no – depending on who you talk to. Perhaps the biggest determining qualifier comes with age, whereby younger users seem more likely to adopt MaaS.

Probably unsurprisingly, the under 30s demonstrate a much stronger preference for MaaS and on-demand services than their older counterparts (40% versus 14% of over 65s).

Younger transport users in MaaS are also less likely to hold a driver’s licence, which can explain the interest in MaaS services. Around 23% of 18 to 25 year-olds in NSW and Victoria don’t have one, while in Western Australia that figure jumps to 41%.

What are the payment options for MaaS?

Ongoing users can think of MaaS as the equivalent to a Netflix or Spotify account, whereby a monthly subscription is derived to allow unlimited access to most/all MaaS transport options.

The other option is a pay as you go via an app or smartcard, at a discounted rate but with limited access to all transport modes.

In terms of MaaS payment models, the pay-as-you go option was twice as popular as the monthly subscription for unlimited access model. This isn’t surprising given the early days nature of the offerings.

What’s next?

If there’s one clear takeaway from the MaaS and On-Demand Transport – Consumer Research and Report, it is that people are expressing a clear interest in making this transport shift. And behind the scenes, a lot of people, companies and governments are moving to make MaaS happen effectively.

In order for that to happen though, MaaS will not only need to be easy to use, but it must respond to key consumer concerns: How much will it cost? Does my area have good transport mode options? Will it be easy to use?

AfMA would love to hear your thoughts on the emergence of Mobility As A Service. Are you be interested in MaaS on a personal level or as a replacement for your fleet vehicles?