Hamburg Takes Pole Position in Shared Mobility

Ride-=pooling service of MOIA, the newest company of the Volkswagen Group, is being launched this week in Hamburg. Up to 500 electric vehicles will be available across Germany’s second largest city.

With the start of this trail-blazing mobility service Hamburg is assuming the leading position in eco-friendly ride pooling on the European continent. Hamburg is thus continuing its tradition as a driving force for innovative mobility solutions. After all, the world’s very first transport association was founded in Hamburg in 1965. As host to the 2021 ITS World Congress, the Hanseatic city is once again on its way to becoming a model city for intelligent transport systems.

With various other shared mobility services available – such as CleverShuttle, ioki and mytaximatch – Hamburg is one of Europe’s most innovative cities when it comes to ride sharing or ride pooling. What these services have in common is the fact that journeys are booked via an app and can be combined with each other. Shared mobility helps maximise the use of vehicles to their full capacity, while alleviating traffic and protecting the environment.

Michael Westhagemann, Hamburg’s Minister for the Economy, Transport and Innovation, says: “Innovations are essential to making mobility in Hamburg more environmentally friendly, quieter and safer. Ride sharing services are bridging the gap between taxis and local public transport – the number of journeys as individual passengers is being decreased, and urban traffic is reduced overall. In 2021 we will be hosting the ITS World Congress. We would like to seize this opportunity to further advance digitisation and efficiency on our roads.”

The MOIA mobility startup is part of the Volkswagen Group, which has developed a new electric vehicle specifically for this purpose. While MOIA is starting with 100 vehicles initially, the fleet is scheduled to grow to 500 vehicles by the end of the year. The new mobility service is based on the concept of shared journeys and is shaped by innovative technology. Users can book a shuttle bus via an app, specifying the start and destination of their intended journey. An algorithm then bundles the trip with similar routes of other users and calculates individual prices depending on the length of the route.

Henrik Falk, CEO of municipal public transport provider Hamburger Hochbahn AG, explains: “We expressly welcome the launch of MOIA in Hamburg. Together we offer people attractive alternatives to private cars. The aim is to closely align the new ride sharing service with Hamburg’s existing mobility services. We are striving for a distribution partnership with MOIA, which will also include the integration of MOIA into the switchh platform.”

Pioneering ride sharing providers such as MOIA and CleverShuttle are useful additions to the local public transport network. In Hamburg, MOIA cooperates with Hamburger Hochbahn, and CleverShuttle is majority owned by Deutsche Bahn. With its zero-emission fleet, which has been installed in Hamburg since 2017, CleverShuttle is regarded as Europe’s pioneer in the area of sustainable shared mobility. Currently, the company operates 50 hydrogen and electric vehicles in Hamburg. The electric shuttle buses from ioki are integrated into the tariff system of Hamburg’s regional public transport system and are currently employed in two districts that are not connected to the local rail network, providing them with access to the public transport network.

Hamburg also offers opportunities to share a taxi ride. Launched about two years ago, the app of Hamburg-based market leader mytaxi enables customers to share their trips with other people using the mytaximatch feature. A new pricing model, developed by Hamburg’s taxi companies in liaison with the City of Hamburg, provides passengers with maximum transparency: prior to booking a trip, the app calculates a fixed price, i.e. the taximeter will be switched off. The company was launched in 2009 as a startup featuring Europe’s very first taxi app.

With these and other innovative mobility solutions, Hamburg is demonstrating how traffic in metropolitan areas is on its way to becoming more efficient, more eco-friendly and safer. By hosting the ITS (Intelligent Transport Systems) World Congress in 2021, the city will serve as a showcase for the world’s most innovative mobility solutions. The focus here will be on innovations for modern city logistics and the use of digital technologies aimed at integrating vehicles and infrastructure, intelligent traffic control, available services, and automated driving. Volkswagen, for instance, is currently making first efforts to test automated vehicles on a test track on the streets of Hamburg.