India’s Emerging Mobility-as-a-Service Landscape

Led by the emergence of mega-trends (electrification, shared and connectivity), India is undergoing a massive transformation in mobility. Enabled through disruptive technologies, new business models/solutions have started to emerge across automotive value chain – opening up ample opportunities to explore in Mobility as a Service (MaaS).

With increasing internet access and smartphone penetration in India, technology-enabled shared mobility solutions are on the rise. India stands to become the global leader in shared mobility industry with its large population clusters, a young demographic that is well connected to the internet and rising spending capacity. Customers have also started accepting shared mobility solutions in the absence of sufficient public transport and high cost of personal mobility.

“By 2030, Morgan Stanley [1] expects shared miles to reach 35 percent of all the miles travelled in India and this will further increase to 50 percent by 2040. Further rises in incomes will also lead to higher spending on shared mobility, while economics and demographics will create a pool of drivers.”

Technology enabled start-ups have started organizing the shared mobility market and rapidly expanded their share. In particular, three types of services are gaining popularity (especially in 4Ws [four wheel steering]) — e-hailing taxis (including OLA Cabs), self-drive rentals (incl. ZoomCar), and vehicle-pooling (incl. oRahi). Technology has enabled these new business models to help solve the unique challenges of India’s urban mobility landscape at a much deeper level.

To truly excel at MaaS, cities have to take a very holistic approach by leveraging such ideas and new business models:

Data-driven integrated planning based on Inclusive Governance and Public-Private Partnership

In MaaS, the authorities can play an enabling role by involving citizens in identifying the major urban mobility challenges and supporting the creation of an environment for private players where it is possible to develop and launch transport services which are safe, functional and profitable. The government should be transparent and should enable business-friendly policies for private operations and support innovation in the sector to create a win-win solution for citizens and industry stakeholders.

In practice, this includes conducting regular citizen surveys, investing in infrastructure, being involved in the drafting of national policies, sharing the transport data with service developers and offering expert advice on mobility services in development projects.

The success of MaaS requires a collaborative effort from city governments with all stakeholders.

India’s Smart City Mission envisions the above philosophy. The City of Pune [2] will be hosting the country’s first Urban Mobility Lab, set-up to address various opportunity areas in Pune’s mobility system: traffic and parking management, non-motorised transport, public transport, intermediate public transport, booking and payment, and electric mobility. These solutions could set benchmarks for cities across India. It would support a replicable process for identifying, integrating, implementing, and scaling innovative mobility solutions in Indian cities. In collaboration with private players, various initiatives have already been planned in the coming months – SUN Mobility’s Quick Interchange Charging Stations for two wheeler (2W) and three wheeler (3W) electric vehicles (EVs), Lithium Urban Technologies’ 300 electric taxis plus 50 electric buses, and Ridlr’s Multi-Modal Commute Ticketing app (offering end-to-end journey planner, advance ticket booking and cashless payments)

Start Experimenting, Keep Learning

It is vital for government authorities to look and learn from innovative business models adopted by different start-ups. For example, in India, UberPOOL [3] (car-pooling services) accounting for 20 percent of total Uber’s yearly rides, saved 7+ million km from being driven (worth  approximately 300,000 litres of fuel saved) within the first six months. Integrating such innovative business models into MaaS could clearly bring efficiency to overall mobility system.

Customer-centric development

Developing solutions that are affordable, convenient, safe and secure for the citizens is critical to find acceptance with the customers. This can be only achieved by revamping current transportation systems and using intelligent technologies to create smart and sustainable mobility solutions.

An example can be how Mumbai is planning a single ticketing-system for integrating payments with a smart card, which will work across all four [4] mass transport services – subway, bus, monorail and metro network, offering faster commute time to over 1.5 million daily riders.

Way Forward

Up till now, growth of MaaS solutions have been limited to Tier-1 cities. With urbanization in Tier-2/3 towns outpacing the growth of basic infrastructure expansion, this will lead to even severe mobility challenges- opening up far greater potential for tech-enabled shared mobility. Since there is no “One-size-Fits-All” solution here, this will allow these new business models to evolve and truly adapt to the Indian conditions. It is important to build financially sustainable & commercially attractive solutions for urban India, and this new phase of mobility will continue to provide such opportunities to develop such solutions.

References:

1. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/indicators/india-to-be-shared-mobility-leader-by-2030-report/articleshow/64435145.cms

2. https://www.financialexpress.com/industry/urban-mobility-lab-think-do-tank-plans-major-makeover-for-punes-transportation/1378884/

3. https://www.automotiveworld.com/articles/india-prime-target-smart-mobility/

4. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/mumbai-integrated-ticketing-system-to-make-daily-commute-faster-easier-5110424/