Improving passenger mobility with new innovative services - EU monitor

EU monitor
Thursday, November 21, 2019
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Source: V. (Violeta) Bulc i, published on Friday, May 27 2016.

This week I took part in an interesting debate on what new technologies can bring to urban mobility. The event was organised by the International Road and Transport Union (IRU), the global industry association for road transport, promoting sustainable mobility of people and goods. Michael Kramer, Chairman of the Committee on Transport and Tourism in the European Parliament, and the representatives from the Dutch EU presidency also attended the debate.

I am excited about the possibilities and innovative, people-friendly solutions that the sharing economy offers in the field of transport. There are many different business models emerging: some are commercial (e.g. Uber), others non-commercial (e.g. BlaBlaCar) activities. Some are responding to new consumer needs and creating new markets. Others are competing directly with well-established operators. However, what they have in common is the innovative use of new technology, which allows them to provide better customer experience for the users and smarter, data-driven analytics for companies.

This creates many new opportunities. New operators are providing a useful stimulus to the market and answering the real needs of people. Thanks to the competition from new operators, traditional taxi companies are increasingly offering new and better services, such as online reservation apps and quality rating possibilities. New operators are offering new job opportunities. They can connect remote places where no taxi or public transport services are available. Thanks to the optimised usage of car fleet and connections with public transport services, they participate to a reduction of congestion and are, compared to traditional services, much more environmentally friendly.

However, new operators represent a real challenge for regulators. They are often using atypical forms of employment. They raise new liability issues. To ensure fair competition, we need to make sure that all operators comply adequately with their fiscal and social obligations and are subject to equivalent safety requirements. At the moment, some Member States are tackling these problems in the wrong way. Current restrictions to access local passenger transport markets are counter-productive. Limiting the possibility for new transport operators to use new technologies is a clear example of bad practices - to the detriment of consumers.

To successfully address these challenges, we need to approach them in a different way. Today, taxi markets are mainly regulated at local or national level. However, new operators have a cross-border dimension and want to benefit from the EU's internal market opportunities. People expect to be able to benefit from the same, reliable services in different European cities. The current debate is too focussed on Uber's business model, but what is really at stake is how to improve the functioning of the local passenger transport market to better serve the citizens. Clearly, the current taxi systems are unable to ensure sufficiently good and quality services to consumers. Here, many things can be learned from the new players in the field. I believe that instead of restricting the access to the market, we should embrace best practices from the disrupters in the field and think of ways how to apply them to traditional services.

At the European Commission, we are closely monitoring the local passenger transport market developments and will issue a detailed study this summer on taxi, hired vehicle and car sharing market in Europe. We are also finalising guidance on how existing EU law applies to the collaborative economy that will be published next week.

Nove, inovativne storitve izboljšujejo mobilnost potnikov

Ta teden sem se udeležila zanimive debate o vplivu novih tehnologij na mobilnost potnikov. Dogodek je organizirala Mednarodna zveza za cestni prevoz (The International Road Transport Union - IRU), ki podpira trajnostni razvoj mobilnosti potnikov in tovora. Med drugim so bili prisotni tudi predsednik komiteja Evropskega parlamenta za promet in turizem Michael Kramer in predstavniki nizozemskega predsedstva EU.

Z veseljem spremljam razvoj inovativnih, ljudem prijaznih storitev, ki jih na področju prometa ponuja ekonomija delitve (collaborative economy). Razvija se veliko novih poslovnih modelov. Nekateri so komercialni (npr. Uber), drugi ne (npr. Blabla car). Nekateri se odzivajo na potrebe ljudi in tako odpirajo nove trge. Spet drugi neposredno tekmujejo z obstoječimi ponudniki storitev. Toda skupna točka vseh je inovativna uporaba novih tehnologij, ki jim omogoča, da ljudem ponudijo prijaznejšo uporabniško izkušnjo, podjetjem pa omogočijo boljši vpogled v analitiko in podatke o uporabnikih.

Tak pristop ustvarja mnogo priložnosti. Novi ponudniki predstavljajo dobrodošlo osvežitev trga in odgovarjajo na potrebe uporabnikov prometnih storitev. Zaradi konkurence novih ponudnikov tudi tradicionalne taksi službe prilagajajo svojo ponudbo, s čemer lahko ljudem ponudijo prijetnejšo uporabniško izkušnjo (npr. aplikacije za rezervacijo in naročanje ter ocenjevanje storitve). Novi ponudniki na trgu pomenijo nove priložnosti za zaposlitev. Povezujejo oddaljene kraje, ki jih taksi službe in javni prevoz ne pokrivajo. Zaradi optimizirane izrabe vozil in pametnega kombiniranja povezav z javnim prevozom pripomorejo k zmanjševanju zastojev na cestah in k manjšim izpustom strupenih plinov.

Novi poslovni modeli pa predstavljajo velik izziv za regulatorje. Pogosto se poslužujejo fleksibilnejših oblik zaposlovanja delavcev, kar lahko v primeru sporov privede do problemov pri iskanju odgovornosti. Če želimo zagotoviti pošteno konkurenco moramo tudi poskrbeti, da vsi ponudniki storitev izpolnjujejo finančne in socialne obveznosti ter so podvrženi enakim varnostnim zahtevam. Trenutno se nekatere države članice s temi izzivi spopadajo na napačen način. Omejevanje dostopa do lokalnega prometnega trga novim ponudnikom je neučinkovit in neproduktiven ukrep. Pri preprečevanju uporabe novih tehnologij za izboljšanje storitev gre za jasen primer slabe prakse, ki škoduje uporabnikom.

K izzivom ekonomije delitve moramo pristopiti na drugačen način. Trenutno je trg na področju taksi služb večinoma reguliran na lokalni ali nacionalni ravni. A novi ponudniki storitev razmišljajo mednarodno in želijo bolje izkoristiti priložnosti, ki jih ponuja enoten evropski trg. Tudi uporabniki želijo koristiti enake, zanesljive in učinkovite storitve v vseh evropskih mestih. Trenutna razprava o izzivih ekonomije delitve v prometu se preveč osredotoča na Uber in njihov poslovni model, a glavno vprašanje za tem je, kako učinkovito izboljšati lokalne sisteme javnega prevoza, da bodo znali izkoristiti priložnosti, ki jih ponuja nova tehnologija ter se odzvati na potrebe in želje uporabnikov. Jasno je, da taksi službe svojim strankam trenutno niso sposobne zagotoviti dobre in kvalitetne uporabniške izkušnje in na tem področju se lahko mnogo stvari naučimo od novih ponudnikov na trgu. Namesto omejevanja dostopa moramo sprejeti dobre prakse in inovativne pristope, ki jih ti ponudniki prinašajo na trg ter razmisliti, kako jih lahko uporabimo za izboljšanje obstoječih storitev.

Na Evropski komisiji podrobno spremljamo dogajanje na področju lokalnega potniškega prometa. Do poletja pripravljamo obsežno raziskavo evropskega trga taksi služb ter storitev za najemanje ter skupno uporabo vozil. Prav tako zaključujemo vodič o tem, kako se obstoječi zakoni EU uporabljajo na področju ekonomije delitve, ki ga bomo objavili prihodnji teden.