Editor's choice
3 Sep 19

MaaS Doomsday

Let’s assume you want to implement some sort or mobility option in your company and get rid of all the cars. It’ll be so much better than dealing with congestion, parking costs and those new employees who don’t even have a drivers license. So you’d like to find a solution that offers public transport, taxi, ride-hailing and bikes, for instance. No scooters, because you’ve heard about fatal accidents and that’s not what you want for the employees.

Well, you’re in for a ride.

Procurement nightmare

You’ll kick off the project by sharing your vision with internal stakeholders. Everyone’s pretty much on board, except Procurement, who kindly informs you that they’re not too happy with you adding dozens of underfunded start-ups to the vendor stack. “Find one that can do everything,” is the last thing you hear when they leave the room.

And Procurement is totally right: most mobility vendors are not in great shape – financially – and on top of that, few of them will have an ISO 27001 or 27018 certificate to reassure your data people.

Aggregators & card solutions

Some more internet research leads you to a few multi-modal solutions, also called “aggregators”. It’s definitely better from a contract perspective, but they’re not present everywhere… In addition, they don’t really offer the mix of providers you’d like to have. Some vendors offer debit/credit card solutions that allow your employees to buy mobility solutions, but your finance people tell you that it’d be simpler for them to use their corporate credit card…

Gradual implementation

So the project has already watered down to few cities rather than being pan-European. You've decided to engage with aggregators rather than solution providers, meaning that you've accepted to offer a limited number of solutions. Now it's time to update payroll, operations and tax. And they’re not happy. Operations isn’t too keen on processing a massive amount of transactions each month, payroll is asking you how you will deliver the correct amount of taxable benefit for each employee. Tax reminds you that, unlike for company cars, mobility solutions are not exactly well defined in the tax regulations and asks for a budget to consult an expensive tax expert. 

Employees

But you persist, because you believe mobility is the right way forward. Also because Senior Leadership expects you to deliver… Time for employee feedback; focus groups are being organised. The employees, some of them for over 20 years in the company, understand everything: pollution, congestion, city bans, taxation,… but when asked if they’d agree to return their company car in exchange for a mobility budget? “No way.” The works council representative in the focus group confirms.

Back to company cars?

This worst case scenario is not meant to discourage anyone from implementing mobility solutions, but rather to give them the right place. Today, MaaS is not able – and is not aiming to – replace cars; mobility is an additional tool that allows you to bring flexibility into fleet management. It’s also a plea for smart and agile implementation of mobility: start with the things that work well, build up credit and implement some more. Finally, follow the market; mobility providers come and go, but there are some really good ones out there that are here to stay.

Authored by: Yves Helven