Transport as a service? Sounds very forward-thinking and yet quite simple. Simplification of traveling and reduction of commuting hassle has always been the mission of Citymapper. The company announced last month that it will be introducing Citymapper Pass to London later this spring, aiming to do just that.
How would it work?
The service is described as “Mobility as a service” (MaaS). The new contactless card is available in both plastic and as a virtual card linked to a mobile wallet. It allows for unlimited public transport journeys for a monthly fee. The users can choose a package for either £30 for Zones 1 and 2 transport not including cabs and bikes, or £40 per month for coverage of those Zones, which includes bike shares and certain cabs. This opportunity to choose an option most suitable for the end user allows to save money and choose the most convenient route. As Citymapper’s CEO Azmat Yusuf stated, the idea is to “make public transport effortless, and <the app> makes it easy to plan, and we want to make it easy to pay”.
The app does indeed allow for full transparency. The traveler would be able to track the subscription, the payments, and the options of journeys within the app. Currently, the Citymapper Pass is only launching in London – the company states that the reason for that is London being “one of the biggest, most complicated public transport cities in the world”. Eventually, though, the MaaS would extend to other cities where Citymapper operates. The “proliferation of contactless payment technology” across the world is what could make Citymapper Pass work in different countries. Judging by the fact that the trial passes for March are already sold out, the company might very well be onto something.
Is MaaS a competitive example of modern efficiency?
Citymapper is hardly the first app to capitalize on the need for efficiency and increased digitization. Companies like Airbnb, Uber and many others have managed to fill the then-existing market gaps and even changed some laws in the process. Their success was welcomed by the consumers, but the city authorities were less than pleased. Transport for London was quite diplomatic in relation to Citymapper Pass’ launch, despite not having been notified of it.
It’s unlikely that Citymapper Pass and the ambitious plans for its development would cause any legislative changes in the short term. However, if in the long-term MaaS’ success gives the authorities a push to amend the regulations in consumers’ favor, it can only be a good thing. In addition, it would create a new niche for UrbanTech players to compete in. That, in turn, would allow users to have their pick of innovative traveling solutions.
Photo credit: The images are owned by Citymapper and were provided for press usage.
Source: Citymapper on Medium / Nicole Kobie (Wired) / Jason Plautz (Smart Cities Dive) / Alex Hern (The Guardian) / Cathy Adams (The Independent) / James Vincent (The Verge) / Carlton Reid (Forbes)