The fact that the pandemic has been significantly disrupting people’s lives can’t be argued. The impact was not limited to health only, but also extended to include economic, technical and social implications.
It is very common nowadays for consumers to use applications to shop and book rides; due to the restrictions on mobility services and community activities that were implemented to contain the contagion and limit the human-to-human contact through social distancing, work from home applications and more. The emerging and in demand applications apply the concepts of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) and Mobility on Demand (MoD).
These terms are often used interchangeably; however, they are slightly different. So, what are these concepts? And how are they affecting people’s lives?
MaaS and MoD applications enable the consumers to have the option to share rides, rent bikes and deliver goods and services. They also allow them to plan and pay through the different available payment methods. The only difference between the two concepts is the range of accessibility. Unlike MaaS, which allows consumers the option of mobility only, MoD provides consumers the option to transport goods and services in addition to mobility.
From the consumers perspective, the use of MaaS and MoD-specialized applications ease their ways of transportation and delivery, in which they are effective and efficient as they are readily available for consumers at all times and in all regions. Additionally, they are convenient and secure since they enable data-tracking and sharing services, consumers are provided with the contact details for the rides’ captains and the progress milestones. Also, the consumers’ private information and payment details are not stored on any servers nor shared with anyone; making these transactions totally reliable. Although these applications may provide different payment fares, the rides and shopping charges are quite reasonable in comparison to trips made with private vehicles. Viewing it from a wider perspective, they optimise the transport resources, reduce air pollution and congestion in busy cities during “rush hours”, which shifts the consumers’ view of public transport being an inadequate service, as they permit the use of private vehicles for those who don’t own them and rely on public transit.
In recent years, consumers have been making more on-demand journeys and orders in response to the broad ecosystem of mobility choices and technologies, in which the market was expected to increase from $53 billion in 2019 to $281 billion in 2027, delivering a CAGR of 23.2% through 2027 as published by GlobeNewswire in 2020. However, the unpredicted urge of using such platforms increased crucially during the pandemic and influenced people’s behaviors.
In the MENA region, Careem – which is a popular and widely used MoD platform for booking rides, ordering food, and the delivery of a variety of products – announced that it reached an impressive number of 48 million registered users after experiencing a major drop earlier that year caused by the pandemic. This notable increase was due to the launch of its multi-purpose Super App including ride-hailing, delivery and Careem Pay in April 2020. Even though the services vary between countries among Careem’s users, the company declared that the number of people using multiple services and making food and item deliveries has increased by 900% and 400% alternatively.
An example of a leading MaaS solutions provider is MaaS Global, which is the company behind the award-winning application Whimapp, offering services for taxis and cars, public transport, bike-sharing, e-scooters and more. As published by Whim, it announced this August that it has been able to respond to exceptional circumstances during the pandemic while continuously developing new services. It also mentioned that it is moving to a next level of prosperity and growth with the successful extension funding of $13 million of its Series B funding on August 25th,2021 that supplements the initial $33 million announced in November 2019, which brings the total raised fundings to $74 million up-to-date.
The real-life examples indicate that MaaS and MoD are the new trend in the mobility industry, since they adapt to the new innovations and tailor their services to the requirements of the new generation, taking into consideration the required hygienic and safety measures required these days.
People are relying more on these emergent and successful applications and technologies. To get a broader grasp about the types of these technologies and how they were affected during the pandemic , read about the Impact of COVID19 on Emerging Technologies.