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Free2Move app to provide mobility “how, where and when needed”

Free2Move app to provide mobility “how, where and when needed”

Mobility on Demand (MOD) or Mobility as a Service is all the rage: instead of countless apps for each individual mobility option – one app to rule them all: that is the aim of the Free2Move digital platform launched today by French carmaker PSA. “It is a multibrand solution giving access to multimodal mobility options, today from car-sharing to bike-sharing, with more options added as time goes by. In fact: our aim is nothing less than to give the mobility customer whatever they need, whenever they need it”, says Brigitte Courtehoux, Senior Vice President of Connected Services and Mobility Business Unit at Free2Move.

Launched in September last year, Free2Move is PSA’s new mobility brand: an umbrella for the French car manufacturing group’s entire mobility initiatives, from leasing to car-sharing to connected services, both captive and multibrand, and much more. From today, Free2Move is also an app, and the new product has a similarly wide-ranging ambition as its umbrella brand.

The Free2move app provides access to the services of about 20 car-sharing providers and is already available in 15 major cities across Germany, Italy, Austria, Sweden and the UK. It will soon also be available in France, Spain and the Netherlands.

  • The app is available free of charge on the App Store, Play Store and on Windows Phone. According to consultants Frost & Sullivan, the number of car-sharers worldwide is set to grow from 8 million in 2015 to 36 million in 2025.

The app will make mobility a lot easier for its users, providing centralized access to various types of solutions from different providers. The user can see all options available to them in the vicinity, can compare prices, locations and other specifics, and can immediately order a service. It is intesting to note that RenaultNissan just acquired the Karhoo taxi and FHV app, which also offers some multimobility options.

“The Free2Move app is a smart platform for convenient mobility services from any provider – so not just us at PSA Group, but also all others – and at any location”, says Brigitte Courtehoux. “Say, I am in Berlin, and I need a car. I can find and reserve one, and go pick it up in a matter of minutes – irrespective of which car-sharing company provides it”.

The Free2Move app aims to be as indiscriminate about its customers as it is about the mobility providers it partners with: “This platform is B2C to begin with, but obviously it has potential applicability for B2B customers as well; especially as more and more companies start providing their employees with mobility budgets instead of company cars. Our platform with our Free2Move app will help simplify corporate mobility and reduce cost – and even encourage more and more companies to share their corporate fleet, on our platform”.

Nor is the platform limited to car-sharing. Other mobility modes will be gradually added. Ultimately, the goal is for the Free2Move platform to live up to its ambitious name, freeing mobility customers to move as, where and when they want – with the platform offering all manner of shared cars and bikes, taxis and public transport.

More info, visit

  • PSA’s Free2Move aims at being a multimobility platform.
Daimler to operate self-driving cars on Uber’s network

Daimler to operate self-driving cars on Uber’s network

Taxi drivers, particularly in Europe and up to now staunch Mercedes-Benz customers, will have been stunned by this recent announcement: Daimler and Uber have announced a partnership that will see the automaker introduce its own self-driving cars for use on Uber’s ride sharing service, TechCrunch reports. The team-up is the second alliance Uber has struck with a car maker in pursuit of its goal of delivering self-driving service to users, the first of which was struck with Volvo and resulted in the XC90 self-driving test car that serves as Uber’s latest prototype.

Uber CEO Kalanick points out a debate between himself and Daimler Chairman Dr. Dieter Zetsche that occurred during a ‘Future of Transportation’ talk hosted by publisher Axel Springer in Berlin last year in his announcement, noting that while the two disagreed in some respects, he was “personally impressed” with the German carmaker.

This partnership is different from Uber’s arrangement with Volvo, however, in that Daimler will own and operate its vehicles itself, while taking advantage of Uber’s technology and ride-sharing network services. Uber tells TechCrunch this is the first time it’s announcing its role as an “open self-driving vehicle platform,” wherein car makers can bring their own vehicles to the network to operate them. It’s a little like what Tesla intends to offer for drivers of its own cars, but targeted at automaker fleets and open to all car makers.

  • Strong chemistry between Daimler’s Zetsche and Uber’s Kalanick in Berlin last year led to the new partnership.
Addison Lee has acquired Flyte Tyme’s $ 65m. business to become world’s largest FHV company

Addison Lee has acquired Flyte Tyme’s $ 65m. business to become world’s largest FHV company

Addison Lee is now set to become the first truly global provider of executive ground transportation, LCT writes. Addison Lee’s acquisition of Flyte Tyme Worldwide Transportation and Flyte Line Transportation has created the world’s leading executive car service. The acquisition will strengthen the Addison Lee Group’s established North American business – bringing combined North American annual revenue to in excess of $100m – and bolster its position as the leading provider of managed ground transport services globally.

This latest addition to the Addison Lee Group and follows the acquisition of executive car service company Tristar Worldwide last June. The combined Addison Lee Group will operate across North America, Europe and Asia, and have a total turnover of nearly £400M (US$500m].

Addison Lee Chief Executive Officer, Andy Boland says: “This is an important moment for the executive car industry. Flyte Tyme has deep expertise and an extensive affiliate network in the United States. By combining Flyte Tyme’s North American presence with Tristar’s global operations and Addison Lee’s digital booking platforms, we can now truly lead the ground transportation industry providing, for the first time, global managed ground transportation services through a single platform”.

Founded in 1979, Flyte Tyme is based in Mahwah, New Jersey and has a turnover of $65m. Flyte Tyme has 525 staff including 375 chauffeurs. The company has a long established reputation for the highest customer service standards and reliability, and it has won numerous industry awards. Flyte Tyme is the USA’s fourth largest operator of executive cars, and will bring to Addison Lee Group’s US portfolio airport transfers, events transport services, shuttle services and black car operations. After the acquisition, Addison Lee Group’s combined US fleet will have over 400 premium vehicles in North America, as well as over 17,000 executive cars through affiliate partners.

Addison Lee Group’s North American businesses will be run by Flyte Tyme Worldwide Transportation Chief Executive Officer, Timothy P. Rose. Rose, who will serve as CEO of Addison Lee North America, says: “We feel that Addison Lee and Flyte Tyme are a perfect match, since both firms strive to provide and deliver the highest quality ground transportation in their respective marketplaces. Through this acquisition, we will be able to leverage our combined technology and client service capabilities to deliver a truly global service for our clients.”

The Flyte Tyme acquisition is the latest step in Addison Lee’s global growth strategy. Earlier in the year, Addison Lee, which is owned by US private equity firm The Carlyle Group, acquired executive car service Tristar Worldwide which operates in 80 countries across the globe. Addison Lee has also expanded its operations to cities around the UK which are now bookable on the Addison Lee app.

Addison Lee Group will now have a particularly strong presence in New York City, which has the world’s second largest corporate ground transportation market worth $1.5bn, where its brings together existing Addison Lee car services with Flyte Tyme operations and Tristar’s award-winning chauffeured limousine service.

Addison Lee Chief Executive Officer, Andy Boland says: “Our customers value our combination of the highest quality executive services with seamless, modern booking platforms. With the acquisition of Flyte Tyme, Addison Lee Group becomes the world’s leading provider of executive car services so that our global customers can take advantage of our quality, reliability and service almost anywhere in the world they want to book a car”.

Some background on both companies: Founded in Battersea in 1975, Addison Lee is Europe’s largest private hire car service company. Addison Lee is trusted by its customers to provide an exceptional service through innovative technology combined with stand- out service from experienced driver and customer service teams 99% on-time record across 10 million journeys per year. The vast majority of our customers rate Addison Lee 5 out of 5 for passenger experience. Support is always available by phone, email and social media. Customers can book by app, phone and web, and can book in advance.

Addison Lee drivers are handpicked; only 1 in 4 meet the rigorous selection standards. Frequent customers enjoy priority service and membership of our customer loyalty programme, ClubLee. Customers also benefit from off peak fares which is 30% less from typical peak pricing.

About Flyte Tyme: Flyte Tyme Worldwide Transportation, headquartered in Mahwah, N.J., with offices in New York City, Princeton, Stamford CT, Los Angeles CA and San Francisco CA, operates 425 vehicles throughout the Flyte Tyme Service Area of NY, NJ, CT, PA and California. Flyte Tyme is the 6th largest global ground transportation provider and has a network of affiliate service providers in more than 350 cities worldwide.

  • Addison Lee acquires Flyte Tyme in US to create world’s largest FHV company.
PTV Group addresses the MaaS market with new MaaS  accelerator programme product suite

PTV Group addresses the MaaS market with new MaaS accelerator programme product suite

Earlier this week at the Transport Research Board’s Annual Meeting in Washington DC, PTV launched its new Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) Accelerator Programme, a complete portfolio of component technologies for planning MaaS operations all the way to operating and managing MaaS in any given city around the world.

PTV Group’s strategy was explained by Miller Crockart, Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing Traffic, “Everyone has heard about the ‘Lisbon study’, in which PTV Group participated as a member of the corporate partner board of the OECD, and the potential implications of the introduction of shared mobility, MaaS and autonomous vehicles. The evaluation of such approaches is essential for all cities, transit operators, fleet operators and automotive OEMs alike.”

“The way we have previously planned for the movement of people and goods has been radically altered with the advancements of these technologies and new ‘shared’ approaches. So being able to, as it were, replicate the ‘Lisbon study’ for each city and potential operator, is something PTV Group has developed as a commercially available software suite capable of quickly and efficiently evaluating MaaS. We are already working with several cities and automotive OEMs on what we call PTV MaaS Modeller studies, which evaluate the introduction, KPIs, and appropriate parameters to allow MaaS, and eventually, fleets of AVs to become part of the overall transport eco-system.”

Crockart continued, “We are unique in that PTV Group understands the demand management side of this topic, and also the routing, scheduling and trip optimization aspects. The reason being, for many years at PTV Group, we’ve addressed the traffic demand management market, and also separately, the logistics and fleet optimization and management market. Bringing these two aspects together has given us the ideal solution to planning, optimizing and operating MaaS, and eventually the full deployment of fleets of autonomous vehicles.”

“That’s only half of the story because not only does one have to plan or model and evaluate the possibility to operate MaaS, one will also then have to integrate it with the overall ‘mobility mix’, operate, regulate and control it. We envision some rather large city operating systems or platforms will have to be constructed, and indeed some are already well underway. There are companies much larger than PTV Group who are well-positioned to develop these mega operating systems. For us at PTV Group, we see ourselves as the key intelligent mobility component provider, and our software programs and optimization technologies have been designed to plug and play within these quickly evolving third party environments.”

“PTV Group’s complete MaaS Accelerator Programme will take a client, or partner, all the way from modeling and evaluating MaaS operations, through to simulating, optimizing actual operations, controlling, and where necessary, integrating with a city or state’s overall mobility platform, or as Crockart coined it in a speech at TRB 2017, in a city’s mobility mix operating system.”

  • At TRB’s Annual Meeting PTV Group launched a MaaS Accelerator Programme
Volvo Cars to establish new shared mobility business unit

Volvo Cars to establish new shared mobility business unit

Volvo Cars, the premium car maker, is to set up a new shared mobility business unit as part of a broad expansion of its car sharing and mobility services strategy, it announced earlier this week.

The new business unit will be based around Sunfleet, one of the world’s first car sharing companies that has been operated by Volvo since 1998. Based in Sweden, Sunfleet has around 50,000 subscribers generating approximately 250,000 transactions in more than 50 Swedish cities.

While Sunfleet will form the core of the new business, Volvo said that it will in future be expanded into new global markets and provide an entirely new range of mobility services to meet changing consumer expectations around how they own and engage with cars.

“Private car ownership will not disappear, but as an automaker we need to embrace the fact that it will reduce and – more importantly – change. We have a proven and profitable concept in our home market which we intend to leverage as we develop a global concept,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo Cars.

Full details of Volvo Cars’ revamped shared mobility strategy will be announced in coming months, but the company intends to complement current and traditional car ownership models with a range of on demand mobility solutions. Flexibility, ease of use and personalization are to be critical success factors.

The chief executive of the new business will be Bodil Eriksson, currently vice president Product, Marketing and Communications at Volvo Car USA and former senior vice president corporate communications.

“Today’s notion of mobility and car ownership is changing. By recognising this fundamental and rapid shift in individual mobility behaviour and responding to it, we ensure that Volvo will continue to be relevant in the eyes of the consumer,” said Mr Samuelsson.

  • Volvo’s new mobility division will be built around its existing Sunfleet brand.
Collaborations with technology providers offer European automotive OEMs new growth opportunities

Collaborations with technology providers offer European automotive OEMs new growth opportunities

Improvements in advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) sensors are driving automation features in original equipment manufacturer (OEM) vehicles. By collaborating with leading technology providers in the autonomous driving space, OEMs have an opportunity to transform into mobility service providers and introduce levels 4 and 5 autonomous cars earlier than expected. With several suppliers already at work on over-the-air upgrades, the adoption of this feature is expected before 2025, even for conventional cars.

“Vehicles will become a living space for entertainment, work or communication, thereby offering scope for a new business model based on individuality,” said Frost & Sullivan Intelligent Mobility’s Senior Research Analyst Anirudh Venkitaraman. “OEMs’ aim of becoming market leaders in terms of technology introduction and adoption will be realised as highly autonomous vehicles are introduced.”

Frost & Sullivan’s new research, Market Analysis of Premium European OEMs ADAS and Automated Driving Strategies, is part of the Autonomous Driving & Connected Mobility Partnership Service program. This includes topics such as in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems, application interfaces and automotive application stores, human-machine interface options, safety, security and vehicle relationship management (VRM)-based telematics services, wireless technologies, cooperative systems (V2X) communication, and vehicle active/passive safety and automation.

The European ADAS market is hindered by legislations delaying the introduction of new technologies, safety mandates enforced on OEMs, and the high cost of system – all of which limit applications to higher-end vehicles. However, as sensors and algorithms become more widely available, systems costs will drop. Legislators across North America and Europe are also actively working to introduce favorable regulations.

“A major challenge for OEMs will be wider market acceptance in terms of customers trusting the technology, while addressing other technical, legal and liability issues in the race toward level-5 automation,” noted Venkitaraman. “Legislations in North America and Europe pertaining to autonomous vehicle technologies are different; hence, OEMs in Europe may need to curtail certain features to meet specific standards in North America.”

  • “Collaborations with technology providers offer European automotive OEMs new growth opportunities”, says Frost & Sullivan.
New BUS2BUS-show in Germany

New BUS2BUS-show in Germany

The countdown to the first BUS2BUS is running. In six months, on 25 and 26 April 2017, the bus and supplier industry will be able to use an independent business platform for its customers in Germany. BUS2BUS will be held in Berlin, the hotspot of the bus sector. BUS2BUS is organized jointly by Messe Berlin and the Federal Association of German Bus Operators (BDO) e.V. The new show will be held every two years and brings bus operators together with bus manufacturers, suppliers, service providers and visionaries.

BUS2BUS combines three ‘impulse moments’: the market place, the already established bdo congress and the ‘Future Forum’. The market square is the central point of contact for trade visitors. Many programme topics of the Future Forum can be found there, as well as all networking events of the BDO congress.

At the BDO congress, economic trends and political topics are discussed next to strategies for the promotion of public transport, travel and long-distance buses. The connecting element between marketplace and bdo congress is the Future Forum. Workshops, technology events, pitches and keynotes on ‘Sustainable mobility’, ‘Autonomous driving concepts’ and ‘Innovative Services’ will provide strong impulses for the industry.

More information?

  • Bus2Bus unites the bus and coach industry and its suppliers.
Skift: “Traditional car services won’t disappear from corporate travel anytime soon”

Skift: “Traditional car services won’t disappear from corporate travel anytime soon”

In a Skift-article Andrew Sheivachman suggest that, despite the inroads Uber & Co have made in the corporate travel sector, the business model of traditional car services providing ground transportation to companies is still strong. “What needs to be seen is whether car services will widely adopt more user-friendly interfaces for hailing cars on demand.”

If all you did was read news reports and listen to the raves of fellow travelers, you would probably think that ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft are rapidly putting traditional car services out of business. The reality, however, is more complicated.

The “Taxi & Limousine Services in the U.S.” report from IBISWorld shows that luxury and sedan corporate car services account for 13.9 percent of the total ecosystem, while taxis account for about two-thirds of the market. But car service use is on the rise in general, after losing ground to ridesharing services from 2012 to 2015, according to the report. Regardless, revenue and employees grew over the same time period when car services and taxi companies lost market share to ridesharing. It pegs the segment’s revenue at $19.6 billion with a $1.7 billion profit, showing how expensive it is to run a car service company.

“Over the next five years, industry performance will continue to depend on rising corporate profit and consumer spending on domestic travel,” states the report. “Ride-hailing apps will continue to represent the bulk of industry growth as they expand to new regions. However, IBISWorld expects greater legal and regulatory scrutiny of these transport networks over the next five years, as certain local governments attempt to curb their expansion. Over the five years to 2021, industry revenue is forecast to grow at an annualized rate of 3.8 percent to $23.6 billion.”

So how do you square up the emergence of Uber and Lyft at a time when car services have fallen out of the limelight, but appear to be growing steadily in terms of financials?

The primacy of car services in the corporate travel space could have something to do with it, and they’re not happy about the near-daily reports on ridesharing drivers being involved in crime and other mishaps. One of the biggest groups of car service companies in the country will soon roll out on demand technology similar to Uber, in order to appeal to business travelers and others who are fans of the new model.

“People that matter in corporations are following the liability trail,” said Scott Solombrino, president of DavEl/Boston Coach and head of the National Limousine Association. “The problem with Uber and Lyft is that they think private greed is more important than public safety… It’s going to be more expensive on demand; we’re going to do the same thing they’re doing in our own pricing structure, then we’ll see what happens in the corporate world. There’s nothing wrong with innovation. We can’t compete on a pricing model, because we’re restricted to pay people properly.”

When asked, Solombrino says he doesn’t regret not thinking up Uber’s on demand interface years ago. But he is certain that car sharing’s marketshare in the corporate space will begin to rise once again. “I don’t know how it plays out, but I know they’re not going to go unchallenged much longer and they only have market share to lose,” said Solombrino. “The clients who use us today want to use us. I don’t worry about losing business to Uber, it already happened. Now, Uber drivers come to us to be professional chauffeurs. The battle we haven’t won is the battle of public opinion, where people think car services are stodgy and for really rich people.”

Ridesharing does have a formidable foothold in corporate travel. Certify’s newly released report on ridesharing shows that services like Uber and Lyft may now control more than half of the national corporate ground transportation market, a mammoth increase from eight percent in Q1 2014. Taxi expenditure is down 63 percent over the same period.(Certify’s numbers don’t include traditional car services, due to the difficulty of categorizing the fragmented group of providers around the country.)

“People are already overwhelmingly choosing ridesharing in their personal life and we see this consumerization of people’s professional lives,” said David Baga, chief business officer of Lyft. “They’re favoring Lyft for the flexibility, the convenience and a better customer experience. Companies are hearing that loud and clear, and they’re trying to get out in front of it. We’re seeing a relative increase in the velocity in how quickly decisions are being made around corporate travel.”

Solombrino and Baga squared off on the conflict between car services and ridesharing at this year’s GBTA conference, with the travel managers on hand expressing support for ridesharing’s ease and tracking features. Baga says that companies are now more comfortable with making ridesharing a part of their corporate travel policy, despite questions remaining surrounding exactly how drivers are vetted from a security standpoint.

“Just like the same way that they evaluated traditional ground transportation, they have a lot of questions about understanding who the drivers are, how they’re selected, what criteria we use to ensure we have the right people in the Lyft platform, and how insurance works,” said Baga. “There’s a lot of misconceptions around ridesharing and these questions open them up to seeing that in most cases you’re actually getting more consistent coverage around the company [using ridesharing] than sending employees out in taxis, making it a choose your own adventure.”

The next step for ridesharing services to become further embedded in corporate travel is baking access into corporate travel management apps on the API level. “One thing that I’m excited about is we have a vision of transportation that is delivered as a service, so one of the critical underpinnings of that is our tech platform being developed to be really accessible for a variety of different use cases,” said Baga. “We are extending that API to be able to really deliver on that promise by allowing other third party apps to consume the Lyft API and create a service where travelers are already working.”

  • NLA-president Scott Solombrino: “The battle we haven’t won is the battle of public opinion, where people think car services are stodgy and for really rich people.”
Brussels to host second ‘Destinations for All World Summit’ for accessible tourism

Brussels to host second ‘Destinations for All World Summit’ for accessible tourism

Quebec-based organization Kéroul and Belgium’s Collectif Accessibilité Wallonie-Bruxelles (CAWaB) are pleased to announce that the second edition of the Destinations for All World Summit will be taking place in Brussels in the Fall of 2018. The aim of the event is to give concrete expression to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Recommendations on Accessible Tourism.

The first edition of the Summit was held in Montréal in October 2014, under the auspices of Kéroul and with the involvement of the UNWTO, UN, European Network for Accessible Tourism and ICAO, among others. With more than 360 participants from 31 countries having come out to share their knowledge and experience, the event wrapped up with the adoption of the A World for Everyone declaration.

Available in 10 languages, this declaration features 40 specific measures for implementing the UNWTO Recommendations on Accessible Tourism globally and locally. It is a veritable plan for action on the local, national and international scales to promote the accessibility of infrastructure, buildings, tourist services as well as transportation services.

With the Western population aging and the benefits of including disabled people in all facets of society, the tourism, culture and transportation sectors have no choice but to fully welcome and adequately serve all citizens, and to be particularly attentive to the needs of elderly and physically disabled people. Moreover, in

September 2015, the UN adopted new Sustainable Development Goals recognizing accessibility and the inclusion of persons with disabilities as principles of sustainable development.

The second edition of the Destinations for All World Summit will provide the opportunity to assess progress made since 2014 and move closer to an international standard of accessibility, information sharing, practices and services for persons with disabilities. In conjunction with this event for trade professionals, there will also be an accessible vacations show for the general public, wherein visitors will learn more about the world’s accessible tourist destinations.

As the respective chairs of Kéroul and CAWaB, Isabelle Ducharme and Vincent Snoeck will co-chair the second Destinations for All World Summit on behalf of their organizations.

  • Isabelle Ducharme (Kéroul) will be co-host.

IRU-report emphasizes door-to-door collective transport

IRU-report emphasizes door-to-door collective transport

Presented at the UN Habitat III Conference in Quito (October 17-20), the report, “Contribution on Smart Urban Mobility for Safe, Inclusive, Resilient and Sustainable Cities”, emphasises the importance of door-to-door collective passenger transport, with a key role for buses, coaches and taxis. It outlines a roadmap to achieve sustainable urban mobility for all, with clear policy and business targets, including national and local mobility plans. 

Through a multi-stakeholder initiative, the Global Partnership for Sustainable Transport (GPST), IRU will play a role as a key enabler in achieving the transport-related UN 2030 sustainable development goals and climate change objectives. 

A worldwide programme of IRU-initiated regional public-private expert sustainability think-tanks (high level groups) will feed into policy on managing increasing demand for mobility within the context of technological development and urban growth.

Joan Clos, Under-Secretary-General, United Nations and Executive Director, UN-Habitat comments: “Transport must remain at the heart of urban planning, providing sustainable solutions to mobility needs through the introduction of transport systems that focus on access, safety and efficiency. The IRU’s efforts through its various initiatives are making an important contribution towards smarter and more sustainable mobility.”

Umberto de Pretto, IRU Secretary General, says: “The unprecedented challenge of urbanisation poses critical questions for global mobility: how best to support trade, tourism, economic growth, jobs, safety, the environment and the world’s communities? IRU is committed to innovation and strategic investment in the bus, coach and taxi sectors – and we are excited to be leading this effort.”

In response to the call for a transformation in mobility policy by Habitat III’s “New Urban Agenda” conference theme, the publication was launched at a special session on “Transport and Mobility”, with presentations at several other events during the Habitat III Conference. 

At the event, IRU revealed new transport innovations for sustainable and efficient transport by road.

Campaigns to set sustainable transport agendas and action plans include IRU’s global Smart Move Campaign, promoting an increase in collective door-to-door passenger transport worldwide (specifically bus and coach) as a solution to traffic congestion and pollution. IRU’s electric taxi initiative and UpTop, the global taxi network, are examples of the commitment to lead innovation that will underpin sustainable road transport. 

IRU’s participation at the event also emphasises the importance of road transport for passengers and goods and reaffirms the UN’s conviction that sustainable transport is key to achieving its global sustainable development goals.

  • IRU stresses the importance of collective door-to-door transport.