Go Mobile has been developing a solution for public carpooling known as ‘FLEXX™’ since 2012. The solution is being used in Østfold, Møre og Romsdal and Finnmark and is becoming increasingly successful. The time is right to make the concept available to the taxi industry through the Mivai taxi app.
Carpooling is part of a widespread international trend that involves using new technology to create transport solutions to reduce the use of private cars. New technology and solutions create new solutions and markets, and go extremely well together with the tangible demand for more sustainable and environmentally friendly passenger transport.
Tony Seba is one of those who believes we are facing a disruptive change that will change all passenger transport within the next 15 years. The three driving forces are electric cars, carpooling and self-driving cars. He believes that owning your own car may soon become as uncommon as owning a horse. In other words, the preserve of those with special interests.
From an environmental perspective and based on a desire to promote sustainable public transport, an important component is the number of passengers in the vehicle. If we could increase the number of passengers in each vehicle by between 10 and 20%, then the majority of queues in Norway would disappear. In Oslo, it is a political goal to reduce the use of private cars by 20% over the next ten years. Ruter, which accounts for well over half of all public transport journeys made in Norway is in the driving seat when it comes to attaining these goals. Ruter has an ambition for more people not only to choose not to own a car but also to manage perfectly well without one. For this, public transport must improve considerably and become more adapted and tailor-made to individual users. We cannot force people to choose not to own a car by means of high taxes, but public transport solutions must be good enough that people generally prefer not to own a car. In this context, we can contribute by creating appropriate and functional solutions for carpooling, which means that taxis may become a more important part of people’s daily lives.
The taxi industry has less than 1% of the total passenger transport market in terms of the number of passenger kilometres, so there is plenty of scope for improvement. Carpooling has the potential to make taxi journeys much cheaper for customers, with taxi drivers earning just as much as they do now. This makes taxis both more competitive and able to increase their market share. There is considerable potential for people who are willing to change as new technology is developed.
In the USA, carpooling using taxis has taken off in recent years, and many new companies are competing to offer carpooling. Uber began offering carpooling last year, and in San Francisco, 50% of journeys are now UberPOOL rides. In New York, it now only costs USD 5 to travel anywhere in Manhattan.
Carpooling has previously been offered by the taxi industry on a sporadic basis, but the concept has never been used in systems in Norway. Carpooling is now becoming a reality with the Mivai taxi app. We realise that we face many challenges in realising this in our elongated country, but even in the most sparsely populated areas we have solutions for carpooling using FLEXX™. We know little about what is required to change people’s habits. The testing of the concept will commence shortly at selected taxi stations in Norway. We will be inviting taxi stations to register their interest in this incredibly exciting concept. If we start in the right way, we believe the service will be a success.