MaaS start small and scale up

‘Just try it’ was the message that Flowbird’s Justin Pounder shared at the ITS Australia Mobility 2024 conference in Melbourne as he presented insights and experiences linked to the delivery of open loop transit schemes and Mobility as a Service projects. In this blog, he discusses the value of adopting a measured approach to program development and execution.

Starting small and scaling up…taking a measured pathway to MaaS success

There’s a universal truth in public transportation in 2024…passengers prefer to ‘tap to travel’. 

While many cash and closed loop systems continue to operate around the world, transport authorities and operators are increasingly moving to open loop payment systems. Open loop not only improves the customer experience by enabling the use of bank cards and digital devices as the means of travel, it also reduces costs associated with cash handling, paper ticketing and smart card infrastructure. 

In Perth, Australia, for example, Flowbird is helping the Public Transport Authority of Western Australia to move from a Tag on, Tag off smartcard architecture to an open loop, multimodal scheme with multi-token payment acceptance. 

This transport environment is made possible by cloud-enabled ticketing, payments, mobile platforms and back-office architectures that knit together the entire mobility eco-system.  

Different mobility services, such as buses, trains, bikes, or car rentals, can be paid for using the same account with a single token. There’s no need to top-up accounts and payment is frictionless, with users paying for mobility services as they go. 

Growing MaaS incrementally

Flowbird’s experience in developing and delivering MaaS projects is that the most successful start small and scale up, beginning with one or two services, assessing the impact, making adjustments and continuously optimising and evolving. 

Monapass in Monaco is a good example where MaaS services have been integrated incrementally over the course of several years, with new services and attractions added progressively to Flowbird’s white label app. Today, there are 11 services fully integrated into the platform, including ticketing for museums, cinema and football, along with transport (bus and rail), parking, scooter hire and bike share.

This type of incremental approach to adding new app services also helps ensure that wider stakeholders are allowed time to on-board as they start to see the benefits. 

MaaS also enables city and regional authorities to add non-transport services to create a wider marketplace. In Monaco, 30% of first purchases via the MaaS app are for activities at destinations, although combined ticketing for transport and destinations is available in some scenarios. 

Ticketing for destinations includes leisure, cultural and sporting events, which can be paid for and fulfilled through a single account in the app, which also offers real-time travel information.

Future MaaS

Looking ahead, the way MaaS will develop will depend on many factors, including technology, government regulation, market trends and user preferences. Car usage will also become more integrated into MaaS with use cases for the booking of autonomous vehicles and electric charging. And artificial Intelligence could be a game changer for MaaS in terms of demand forecasting, route optimisation and on-demand services.

In short, MaaS provides the pathway to tear down transportation silos, leveraging the expertise of organisations such as Flowbird to create a mobility ecosystem that is more efficient and is sustainable. 

Whatever the shape of future MaaS, the focus must be on satisfying the needs of the people who matter most…passengers.


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