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Taxi & Mobility Update – Presentations

Taxi & Mobility Update – Presentations

Corrado Simontacchi- changing face of business travel J-C Simon-Taxi and PHV in large cities James Cooper- TaxiIntell Kaan Yildizgoz-UITP study Levent Erdogan – Karsan Max Zeumer-FlixBus Disrupting Transporation-T&MIU-final Oleg Kamberski – IRU Richard Harris -is MaaS the magic wand Sampo Hietanen-MaaS taxis Shwetha Surender-Mega Trends Simon Buggey-Taxi and Mobility 2016 – London briefing Suzanne Hoadley-CityMobil2 Teemu Sihvola-smarter shared rides


Jean Vachon – Tao video:

Matt Daus – video:

Daniel Ishag – Karhoo video:

Addison Lee goes truly global with £ 50m acquisition of Tristar Worldwide

Addison Lee goes truly global with £ 50m acquisition of Tristar Worldwide

Addison Lee, the dominant private hire operation in the UK, acquired Tristar Worldwide for £50 million ($ 66 m, € 59 m) creating Europe’s largest executive car service and ensuring a global presence through Tristar’s operations in the US, Asia and continental Europe.

Andy Boland, Addison Lee’s CEO told Private Driver: “This is a major landmark for our business. Coming together with Tristar means our shared ethos and commitment to quality, service and reliability can be expanded globally.”

Tristar’s brand will remain and become the main brand for executive services. It operates the largest executive car fleet in the UK, and has global revenues of £50m ($ 66 m, € 59 m) and more than 450 chauffeurs. Together with Addison Lee’s executive fleet, the combined operation will have almost 1,000 premium vehicles around the world, making it the market leader in the executive car area.

The acquisition fits in well with both companies’ strategy to focus on the premium end of the market. The companies feel there is strong demand for executive car services, particularly on a transatlantic basis, which means the combined business is well positioned for growth.

Addison Lee’s brand will focus on on-demand and private hire operations. The company has also announced plans to establish a full operation in Manchester with 300 cars, and is looking for partners in other cities as it rolls out its app across the UK. “The decision to operate in Manchester has been driven by demand from existing corporate clients,” said Boland.

The app is now live in Edinburgh, Liverpool and Cambridge. “Working with our partners, we will have a presence in 25 UK cities by the end of the year”, Boland added.

The combined Addison Lee-Tristar fleet is Europe’s largest car service operator with more than 5,000 cars, and a team of 800 support staff. Boland commented: “There will be significant growth in the executive car market following the 15% jump in volumes we saw in 2015. With Tristar, we will be able to take our service to the next level and into new markets around the world.”

Tristar Worldwide CEO Dean de Beer told Private Driver: “When we set out to look for a partner with whom we can grow and take our business to the next level, Addison Lee was the obvious choice. I am proud of what we have achieved so far and excited about the next chapter for Tristar.”

• With Tristar Worldwide’s acquisition Addison Lee goes for a worldwide presence. 

Uber positions its China app as more than a ride-hailing service

Uber positions its China app as more than a ride-hailing service

At TechCrunch Shanghai, Uber China VP of Operations and Regional General Manager of Central China Kate Wang showed off Uber’s new vision for China — one that includes two new offerings, UberLIFE and Uber + Travel, which will roll out across China this year. With this step Uber is repositioning its app as an all-in-one solution for transport, food and entertainment. Apparently all-in-one apps are what the Chinese market demands.

That’s what WeChat, the hot messaging app that sees 697 million active users worldwide every month, is all about according to TechCrunch. In addition to messaging, the app offers voice and video calling, payments, shopping, games and more. Uber, which has been blocked on WeChat, is taking a page or more from WeChat’s playbook. WeChat is owned by Tencent, which invested in Uber’s biggest rival, Didi Chuxing, previously known as Didi Kuaidi.

In a data-analysis, Uber figured out that people still look at the Uber app for an additional 90 seconds when they’re in the car, so Uber wants to give people more to do when they’re inside the app. With Uber Life, passengers will get served up a digital magazine of sorts to connect them to sports events, art events, plays and other things going on in their local cities. Uber Life is intended to help people “live a better a life” and ultimately spend more time within Uber’s app.

With Uber+Travel, the idea is to connect people to everything they might need while traveling internationally — from boats to air balloons. In a promo video shown at TechCrunch Shanghai, new services like UberBoat and UberBalloon were shown, as well as logos for all of Uber’s partners in local cities.

“This reminds us that Uber is a global service serving global citizens,” Wang said. “It is rooted in each of the cities.” With Uber+Travel, Uber can tap into its network of partners throughout the world to offer more of a seamless travel experience. Last year, Uber filed a patent for something called Uber Travel, which recommends travel itineraries. Wang also spoke about UberPASS, a package of rides that you can buy to use in different cities.

Earlier this month, Uber said it’s on course to become China’s most popular ride service within a year. Uber first entered China about two years ago, while Didi has been operating in China for four years. Since launching in China, Uber’s footprint has expanded from ten to 60 cities. Now, Wang said, Uber’s goal is to transform itself from a player in the car-hailing market “to a commerce service that understands life and a proper life.”

• “Uber is a global service serving global citizens,” Uber China VP of Operations and Regional General Manager of Central China Kate Wang said. Photo: TechCrunch.

Technology and cars are coming together

Technology and cars are coming together

The line between the technology and automotive industries is blurring. The rise of rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft means that transportation is being tied ever more closely to your cell phone, while autonomous driving technology is turning your car into a computer. But these developments are expensive: Carmakers’ R&D budgets jumped 61 percent, to $137 billion from 2010 to 2014.

Fiat Chrysler Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne thinks it makes no sense for carmakers to spend billions of dollars developing competing, yet largely identical systems. To share some of the risk—and the cost—the incumbent automotive giants and their would-be disruptors are teaming up in an ever-growing, ever more complex series of alliances.

So Fiat Chrysler, for instance, has paired up with Google to develop 100 self-driving minivans, and is in discussions with Uber about a similar venture. Google has, in turn, invested in Uber, as have Toyota, Microsoft and Tata, owner of Jaguar Land Rover. Bill Ford, chairman of the eponymous carmaker, has meanwhile invested in Lyft, as has General Motors, and Lyft has partnered with China’s Didi, itself the subject of a $1 billion investment from Apple.

Apart from that, GM invested $500 million in Lyft and bought Cruise Automation for $1 billion. Then Uber hired Google’s VP of engineering. Uber hired Ford’s head of electronic systems engineering to become VP of global vehicle programmes. And the list goes on: Apple invested $1 billion in Chinese ride-hailing company, Didi, which partners with Lyft. DriveNow is a joint venture between BMW and Sixt Rent a Car. Daimler founded Car2Go and acquired MyTaxi and RideScout. VW, BMW and Daimler partnered to buy Nokia’s HERE maps. Daimler invested in Blacklane, an app for booking chauffeurs. VW hired the head of Apple’s car project, who previously worked at Daimler. And finally (?) VW invested $300 million in taxi-hailing company, Gett. VW owns a stake in the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI).

The prize is lucrative, and the carmakers want to ensure that software players don’t win the lion’s share of it. According to a McKinsey-estimate rideshare and onboard-data services could generate an additional $1.5 trillion of annual automotive revenue by 2030, adding to the $5.2 trillion from traditional car sales and services. And it’s attractive for consumers too: It costs an average of $8,558 per year to own a car in the U.S., but each vehicle is used just 4 percent of the time. Ridesharing in an autonomous vehicle could ensure that cars are always in use.

• Chasing the (additional) ride hailing and sharing market: VW and Gett. 

New: Initiative for Smart Mobility in the Karlsruhe Region: PTV partners with Karlsruhe

New: Initiative for Smart Mobility in the Karlsruhe Region: PTV partners with Karlsruhe

At the end of June, Vincent Kobesen, CEO of the PTV Group, and Mayor Dr. Frank Mentrup announced closer cooperation for the development of Smart Mobility. The goal is to establish a real-time traffic prediction system for the Karlsruhe Technology Region. This system will help enhance Karlsruhe as the leading Smart City in Germany and market the region and its technologies internationally.

Mobility, entrepreneurship and an openness to innovative concepts have a long tradition in the Karlsruhe Technology Region. On the occasion of the dedication of the modernized PTV building, there was a podium discussion on the topic “The future of mobility in the Karlsruhe region.” CEO Vincent Kobesen informed the audience that PTV will assist the city of Karlsruhe with the development of a modern, real-time traffic information system, prediction software and data platform.

“We want Karlsruhe to become the model example of what is a Smart City. It will also act as an international flagship project. We as PTV Group will invest to support our local region. We will continue to enhance our transport planning and traffic management software and jointly contribute towards establishing a state of the art traffic prediction platform in Karlsruhe’s traffic centre”, explains Kobesen. This includes the integration of real-time data, as well as the product PTV Optima, which will be used to support traffic management in real time.

“We already have agreements from leading data suppliers to supply this flagship project with appropriate traffic information and mobility data. The city will retain responsibility on the traffic management measures that will ultimately be implemented. Kobesen continues, “We stand ready to assist the city in planning measures and simulating their possible effects to encourage smart, real-time decision making”.

Every Smart City needs a smart mobility concept. And both the city and the technology provider PTV Group are extremely well-positioned for this. Now at the newly renovated company’s headquarters on the east side of Karlsruhe, PTV is investing in a new, representative exhibition room called the “Mobility Lab”. In this lab, interested parties from around the world can experience first-hand the new Karlsruhe smart mobility concepts virtually. For clarity, the Karlsruhe city traffic management unit will maintain operational control of the proposed system and actual day-to-day traffic management.

Karlsruhe’s Mayor Frank Mentrup is pleased: “I greatly appreciate the PTV Group’s great commitment to its home town. As a world market leader and with its recognised reputation as an experienced traffic and transport specialist, PTV will help us establish Karlsruhe as the model of a Smart City on the international stage.” The PTV Group’s goal is to go live with the new Karlsruhe real-time traffic prediction platform at the start of 2017.

• PTV partners with Karlsruhe in creating a Smart (Mobility) City. 

“Taxis and PHV must reinvent and serve new business areas”

“Taxis and PHV must reinvent and serve new business areas”

Clear message from international conference Taxi & Mobility Update:

“Taxis and PHV must reinvent and serve new business areas”

Even though new taxi and PHV regulation may include a level playing field, it will also provide more space for new forms of mobility like ride hailing. That’s why the taxi and PHV industry must reinvent itself and branch out into other areas.

With a regulatory session moderated by Brussels Mobility Minister Pascal Smet, the presentation of innovations like ‘Mobility as a Service’, a look at long term socio-economic developments and a peek at adjacent business areas, Taxi & Mobility Update 2016 – ‘Solving the Mobility Puzzle’ provided a powerful and concise update of the latest developments. Taxi & Mobility Update returns to Brussels in April 2017.

“Safety and quality are paramount”

Brussels Mobility Minister Pascal Smet is in the last straight line of presenting his ground transportation bill for the Belgian capital. A bill which will undoubtedly give other forms of mobility more (legal) space and demand more innovation of the Brussels taxi sector. Whatever these plans are, Smet insists “Safety and quality will be paramount for any operator.”

Post-Brexit Simon Buggey (Transport for London) may have nothing to fear from ‘Brussels’ anymore, but the new London mayor is worried about the capitals’ air quality. A rapidly growing PHV-fleet (over 100.000) doesn’t exactly help. From 2018 onwards all taxis (25.000) must be electric. What to do?

The EU Commission (Peter Szatmari) is unsure too: apart from giving ‘guidance’ to EU member states how to deal with the ‘collaborative economy’ (banning operators is the last resort), it is running a research project into the taxi, PHV and ‘collaborative’ sector. First indications of changing EU policy can be expected after the summer. The last speaker of the conference, Jean-Charles Simon, presenting his study about large cities, confirmed that proper regulation for every operator is very much needed in these cities.

“Glad to have this overview”

The first three presentations of the conference packed a powerful punch: researcher Swetha Surender (Frost & Sullivan) looked at the next ten years in which we not only will have to deal with autonomous driving, but also with more connectivity (the Internet of Things connecting everything around us) and rapidly changing cognitive and social trends.

Richard Harris (Xerox) and Sampo Hietanen (MaaS Global) sketched the future of networked mobility in which Xerox provides a seamless back office between various (public) transport modes and MaaS strings together various mobility options in one app. Like the Whim app which has just been launched in the Helsinki area. “I had no idea there were so many different developments which are coming right at us”, said one conference attendee. “I’m glad to have this overview.”

More innovation needed: “Uber is not going away”

When it came to innovative systems: Jean Vachon (Taxelco) introduced the zappy ‘green’ Téo system in Montreal, Teemu Sihvola confirmed Helsinki’s Kutsuplus-system is waiting for a new chance and presented Washington DC’s shared ride taxi system Split. Suzanne Hadley (Polis) showed that there is a lot of mileage left in automatic driving before we even get to the autonomous variant. Add to these new variants the need for different vehicles: Levent Erdogan (Karsan) showed it had never given up on a new electric cab (now being developed for London) and showed the Jest-Minibus, eminently suitable for shared taxi services.

James Cooper showed that Uber and other TNC’s are often one step ahead of the traditional taxi and PHV industry and that these trades need to up their game. Earlier lawyer Matt Daus had shown the state of play (in the US) in the hundreds of court cases against the TNC’s. “Uber is not going away, don’t for a moment be fooled into thinking that,” Cooper added, wondering whether the taxi trade has really woken up to the challenge at hand.

New markets

One way the industry is upping its game is by combining many different industry apps and companies in UpTop, the Global Taxi Network, said Oleg Kamberski (IRU), slowly inching towards representing and connecting a sizeable 10% of the world’s taxi industry. The main aggregator now in pole position seems to be Karhoo, introduced by its inventor Daniel Ishag, supplying London, five other large UK cities and soon launching in New York, Singapore and Europe.

The organisers of the conference, Challans & Faber Business Communications in Brussels, had lined up some top speakers from adjacent areas, like Max Zeumer from ‘disruptor’ Flixmobility which has spun a large network of long distance bus-routes across Europe and is now looking into other areas of mobility for ‘the last mile.’ UITP’s Kaan Yildizgoz presented an exciting comparison of taxi data and saw a clear opportunity for cooperation between public transport and taxis in times where the public purse is getting tighter. Finally Corrado Simontacchi showed how business travel is changing: not only the client, but also the traveller needs mobile information. There is (more) room for the taxi industry, but offering a good price is no longer enough. The customer needs service and assistance, plus an efficient and environmentally-friendly service via his smartphone.

Next year Taxi & Mobility Update 2017 will be held in Brussels at the beginning of April 2017. “For the sixth year we will be building a networking platform between the industry and other stakeholders like government institutions, associations, regulators, suppliers and consultants”, says organiser Wim Faber. “We see that this formula works.”






car2go starts in Brussels

car2go starts in Brussels

car2go, the car-sharing provider which is part of the Daimler Group, will be opening its 31st international location in Brussels in October 2016. The world’s largest free-floating car-sharer starts up business with 300 vehicles in an area covering around 50 km² in the city of Brussels. As usual, car2go will be using almost exclusively smart fortwo vehicles, which are particularly suitable for use in cities, in the Belgian metropolis. The 250 smart fortwo vehicles will be supplemented in Brussels with a further 50 Mercedes-Benz A Class vehicles.

After Madrid (November 2015) and Chongqing/China (April 2016), Brussels will, in October, be the third international location opened by car2go within less than a year. “We are consequently implementing the car2go growth strategy and underlining our world-wide market leadership in free-floating car-sharing”, says Roland Keppler, CEO of car2go. “The increasing usage of car2go clearly shows a growing demand for spontaneous mobility around the globe.” Currently, around 1.9 million customers are registered with car2go making use every 1.5 seconds of one of the 14,000 car2go vehicles in the global fleet.

The car2go mobility experts anticipate that the car2go service in Brussels will lead to a medium-term improvement to the strained inner city traffic situation. After all, the free-floating car-sharing concept from car2go has proven over the last few years to be a real alternative to owning a vehicle and a valuable complement to local public transport in 15 other European metropolises.

First year of growth in demand for Public Transport in the EU since the crisis

First year of growth in demand for Public Transport in the EU since the crisis

According to a new study by the UITP, the International Association of Public Transport, based in Brussels, Belgium, the use of public transport in the EU has reached its highest level since 2000, with a total of 57.9 billion journeys made in 2014. 2014 was the first year of distinct growth in demand for public transport after years of stable demand following the start of the economic crisis in 2008.

The highest total demand in 2014 for bus, tram, metro and suburban rail was recorded in Germany (10.9bn journeys), UK (7.7bn) and France (7.6bn). Between 2013 and 2014, ‘growth leaders’ France, Italy, Poland and the UK had a combined increase of 600 million journeys, driving up the total EU figure. Of the 57.9 billion public transport journeys made in 2014, 55.8% were by bus, 16.1% by metro, 14.5% by tram and 13.6% by suburban rail.

The developments mask significant national variations, however, which are quite closely linked to national employment figures. 17 EU countries saw higher ridership in 2014 compared to 2010 but only seven had sustained growth: Austria, France, Germany, Lithuania, Malta, Sweden and the UK. Bulgaria was the only country where ridership dropped every year since 2000. Encouragingly, countries such as Spain, Ireland and Italy that have been impacted by the crisis, saw a return to growth in 2014.

In EU capital cities, the average annual percentage growth in demand (2010-2014) was highest in Brussels; demand per capita is approximately 2.5 times higher in capital cities than the national average. “On an average working day in the EU, urban and suburban public transport carried 185 million passengers with an average urban dweller making three public transport journeys per week,” said Alain Flausch, UITP Secretary General. “2014 was the first return to growth since the crisis, which could be linked to the economic pickup or a shift to public transport and it will be interesting to see if this recent increase will become a trend”.

See the full UITP Statistics Brief: ‘Local public transport in the European Union’.

  • Demand for public transport increased in 2014.
Autonomous driving disrupts industry and prompts safety gains and growth opportunities

Autonomous driving disrupts industry and prompts safety gains and growth opportunities

Autonomous Driving advances at fast pace, opening up various revenue streams across industries, discusses a panel debate at Frost & Sullivan’s ‘Intelligent Mobility’ event in London on June 29th.

The mobility industry is at the cusp of realizing the vision of driverless cars and, along with that, accident free transportation. The automation technology roadmaps of 80 percent of the major OEMs are expected to finalised this year. The pace at which connected services, sensoring solutions and the like develop make it safe to assume that full autonomous functionality can be achieved within the next decade. By 2030 the revenue potential is expected to reach $65 billion, making the autonomous market a highly promising field for OEMs, suppliers as well as tech companies.

As part of the Frost & Sullivan industry event ‘Intelligent Mobility’ taking place on the 29th of June at the Jumeirah Carlton Hotel in London, the panel Autonomous Business Models will provide the stage for a lively discussion on opportunities as well as challenges within the industry. “The most significant challenge autonomous business models have to overcome at this point is a lack of clear regulatory frameworks which outline how these products can be made available to the mass market”, explains Franck Leveque, Frost & Sullivan Partner and Business Unit Leader, who will moderate the panel discussion. While European and US policy makers are stepping up their pace live up to this progress, current test facilities favour countries such as China and Japan. Leveque continues: “The more unified and consistent international regulations will turn out, the better equipped the industry will be to bring forward this disruption. We currently are at the ground zero of the future.”

One of the major benefits arising from autonomous business models may seem a luxury – liberating valuable time passengers will gain. “This obviously is a huge achievement, but autonomous driving actually adds value to society way beyond individual time gains – in an ideal scenario, fully autonomous traffic could reduce accidents by up to 100 percent”, states Mr. Leveque. “But even in a realistic scenario, the majority of the accidents today that occur today due to driver distractions can be addressed by tis technology and that is a strong driving force for its adoption.”

Moreover, autonomous business means of transportation are not limited to the individual passenger car. Trains, buses and taxis will become autonomous, decreasing costs and providing an improved public transportation system. This truly addresses the need for clear, lean and safe transportation, which the growing mega cities strive to achieve. Similarly, Mark Patrick, CTO of Digital Barriers and panelist states: “At Digital Barriers we will focus in on how video in driverless vehicles won’t just be for consumption of media but, more importantly, transmitted for safety and security.  Our demonstration will show how technology designed for military and law enforcement surveillance is able to deliver real time situational awareness for passenger.” Other industry leaders and experts to join the Autonomous Business Models panel discussion are Dr. George Gillespie, OBE, CEO, HORIBA MIRA Ltd, Graham Bradley, Senior Sales Director EMEA and UK Country Manager, Inrix and Iain Forbes, Head of the Centre for Connected.

Besides focusing on autonomous business models, Intelligent Mobility will bring together industry experts on Mega Trends, the future of connectivity, corporate mobility, integrated transport solutions as well as new mobility concepts.

  • Autonomous Driving advances at fast pace, opening up various revenue streams across industries, says Frost & Sullivan.
Skeptics of self-driving cars span generations

Skeptics of self-driving cars span generations

Jeffrey Miller, an associate professor of engineering practice, was a participant in a survey about autonomous driving. He had reservations. The technology to make autonomous cars a reality may be ready, but American drivers don’t seem to be.

From smartphone-addicted teenagers to researchers designing the next generation of self-driving vehicles, there’s a fair amount of skepticism among consumers when it comes to letting go of the wheel and allowing a car to do the driving, several surveys over the last year have found. Even engineers have some qualms.

“I have no problem letting a car take control,” said Jeffrey Miller, an associate professor of engineering practice at the University of Southern California. “But having a car take my kids to school? You’re talking about people who don’t have the ability to take over if something goes wrong. I’m not that comfortable with it.”

That sentiment was echoed in a survey of over 400 respondents by IEEE, the professional engineering organization, that grew out of a round table that Professor Miller took part in. On a scale of 1 to 5 — with “very comfortable” being a 5 — more than two-thirds of the experts in the study said they weren’t ready to have a robotic car play nanny, giving the concept a 3 or lower. Not exactly a ringing endorsement from engineers of the state of the art in self-driving cars.

“It’s not the technology. It’s user acceptance that’s holding us up right now,” Professor Miller said.


  • Not everyone is equally happy handing over control.