MaaS platforms can be beneficial for MSPs in a number of ways: To start with, having their offering integrated into a MaaS platform raises awareness of existing MSPs and their offering, and can thus be an opportunity for the providers to win new customers. By showing and comparing available MSP offerings based on different categories, the MaaS platform also provides easy access to different modes of transport for users. Users don’t have to know about a specific MSP in advance to find and benefit from its offering.
Furthermore, MaaS platforms reduce the effort for MSP users in terms of registration and verification. Provided that the technical requirements are met, users only have to register and verify once with the Maas platform to unlock multiple MSPs. Thus, the hurdle for users to try a new MSP - or use an MSP which they use only from time to time - is lowered.
Another important aspect is that MaaS platforms combine MSP options with other modes of transport. In many cases the MSPs’ offering is more valuable to the user in combination with other modes of transport. An example: driving to work with an e-scooter might not be attractive if the distance is too long. However, in combination with a train ride, an e-scooter might be the ideal option for the first or last mile. MaaS platforms are an easy, fast and reliable way for users to find and book such combinations.
Last but not least, MaaS platforms can strengthen the MSP’s brand. MaaS platforms are often offered by public transport companies. Their brands are usually well known in their regions and are highly trusted. Thus, MSP brands can benefit when they are displayed in the MaaS app of a public transport company.
While integrating the technology is not highly complex, it still requires significant resources on the part of the MaaS platform provider. MSPs are usually integrated via APIs. These have to be implemented and the implementations have to be maintained. Bugs and API updates have to be taken care of frequently to guarantee a stable and reliable user experience. Technical complexity is added by external services, such as payment services, which are part of the MaaS platform.
Another challenge can be the operational coordination between the MaaS platform and the MSPs. One example is customer support, where support tickets have to be handed over from the MaaS platform provider to the MSP to deal with specific requests.
In my opinion, the most important benefit for users of a MaaS app is convenience. They can choose from several means of transport and decide based on the travel time, the travel budget and other factors (e.g. CO2 footprint and weather conditions) - all in one app. A single registration for multiple MSPs and centralised payment play a significant role in increasing user convenience.
Secondly, the combination of several modes of transport - especially in real time - is a huge benefit, which is difficult to master without the help of an app that unites these services.
Thirdly, a MaaS app often helps users to discover new transport options that wouldn’t have come to mind otherwise.
Finally, MaaS platforms add an element of trust, e.g. when trying out a new MSP and their combination.
With policy makers set to support the shift from individual to public transport and shared mobility, the market opportunity for MSPs is very large. Of course, this is highly attractive and will help MSPs to grow their business.
However, such an attractive market also poses significant challenges for the individual MSP, especially because it attracts a lot of capital and competition. What’s more, MSPs are only one element in a complex, heterogeneous market.
To survive the inevitable market consolidation and generate the most value from this attractive market, MSPs need to be very well integrated into the transportation eco-system.
MaaS platforms are a central piece of future mobility linking all major market actors. Consequently, MaaS platforms will be of great value - if not essential - as partners for MSPs in this endeavour. Through MaaS platforms, MSPs will be able to attract new users, integrate seamlessly with other modes of transport and participate in major innovations that will shape the future of mobility.
Fabian Brändle is Lead Partner Management at Mobimeo. He and his team drive and build the collaboration with Mobimeo’s partners and strengthen the position of Mobimeo’s MaaS platform in the market.