Collaboration: Road to Improved MobilitySat, 09/01/2018 - 10:30
Growing populations, migration to cities and ever-sprawling urban areas are greatly pressuring transportation systems. Ricardo Weder, Global President of Cabify, says a cultural shift away from car ownership is necessary for this pressure to subside. “We are building cities around cars rather than around communities,” he says. “Technology will enable us to reclaim these spaces.”
Weder says mobility ecosystems in Latin America are harmed by a lack of appropriate public transportation, inadequate investment by governments and nonexistent urban planification. These inefficiencies offer great potential for improvement through technology. Ditching the concept of vehicle ownership will be a key step in this process.
“The social cost of having a car is not included in the price that people pay for it,” says Weder. The combination of widely-extended vehicle ownership with insufficient mobility alternatives not only translates to collapsed road networks but also to diminished quality of life among the population segments with the lowest income who often live on the peripheries of cities and endure the longest commutes.
This, however, will change in the next decade thanks to technology, according to Weder. As part of the Spain-based Maxi Mobility group, Cabify and its sister company Easy focus on offering ride-hailing services as well as developing mobility-oriented technology to support the development of transportation systems in the group’s target markets in Europe and Latin America. “Cabify has the talent to develop top-of the-line technology to compete against the best-funded e-mobility companies.” An example of this is Cabify’s collaboration with Google Maps. “Clients can now hail a ride from the Maps app thus curbing waiting times, costs and other variables while also increasing our user base.”
Weder points out that e-mobility offers many opportunities to not only improve transportation in cities but also to generate wealth for drivers. “Ride-hailing in Latin America offers huge opportunities to create well-remunerated self-employment,” he says. “Shared-mobility models allow both full- and part-time work so that the gap between supply and demand for these services is reduced.”
Cabify collaborates with other mobility players to create public policies that bolster healthy competition between transportation alternatives. The company believes in competition and recognizes the importance of coexistence among several players to create the best ecosystem for users. “We need technology to modernize mobility in collaboration with all public and private players,” he adds.
While taxis have been the traditional competitors of ride-hailing services, Cabify has taken a step forward to work with them in some markets. “We do not see cabs as our direct competitors,” Weder says. Cabify covers different needs that clients cannot meet through the use of taxis and thus competes directly against the global giants of ride-hailing, he says. “We are proud to be competing with Uber and DiDi Chuxing as a truly Ibero-American company.”
As part of its efforts to develop mobility ecosystems in Latin America, Cabify has also participated in the creation of the Latin American Association of Mobility Services Companies alongside other industry players. This organization is planned to include all actors in the technology-based mobility ecosystem, from start-ups to funds. “We plan to address issues of security and Big Data and to share best practices, processes and information to improve our processes and boost security,” says Weder. Cabify plans to host workshops that focus on the regulations needed to improve Mexico’s mobility and offer certainty to transportation companies.
Regulation is one of the main challenges that deter mobility development, according to Weder. “Technology moves faster than governments can develop the corresponding public policy,” he says. “Transportation is a key variable in urban life, which makes it impossible for this sector to be trumped by regulations. We need a regulatory framework with a nationwide application to provide more certainty to companies and offer long-term incentives that support the country’s mobility ecosystem.”
Cabify collaborates with other mobility players to create public policies that bolster healthy competition between transportation alternatives.