Sydney MaaS trial is midway through
The Sydney MaaS trial has been up and running since November 2019, and today in an iMOVE webinar an update on its makeup and progress is being presented.
Firstly, what is this project all about?
In an earlier iMOVE project, MaaS and On-Demand Transport – Consumer Research and Report, the question was asked, Mobility as a Service, does Australia want it? The answer was arrived at via a survey, and the main takeaway from the final report of that project was ‘people are expressing a clear interest in making this transport shift.’
Not to diminish that earlier project at all, but that was a survey ahead of any actual experience of using MaaS. In the MaaS trial in Sydney project, there is six months of customer use and experience of Mobility as a Service.
The project is led by IAG, with research provided by the Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies out of the University of Sydney, and SkedGo provided the Tripi app, a white label of its TripGo app.
- Explore appropriate transport service mixes and subscription plans for early adopters of MaaS
- Generate first-hand knowledge of actual MaaS experiences
- Assess the readiness of the current public and private transport mix in Sydney to support MaaS
- Advance the understanding of user uptake and willingness-to-pay for MaaS
- Test the ability to influence travel behaviour through introducing MaaS subscriptions
- Document the experience in designing, planning and undertaking a MaaS trial
Participants and package
Participants in the trial were 91 staff from within IAG, who worked, lived, and travelled within the Greater Sydney Metropolitan area. In the first 4 months of the trial (November to February) they were offered the choice of four MaaS bundles:
- Pay As You Go – no monthly fee, no discounts
- Saver25 – $25 per month
- Fifty50 – $50 per month
- Green Pass – $125 per month
The bundles were introduced one at a time over these initial months. At the launch of the trial only the PAYG option was available, with Fifty50 joining in December 2019, Saver25 in January 2020, and Green Pass in February. As a guide, the graphic below shows the bundle offerings and discounts as at February.
As you can see, in this bundles were public transport (train, bus, ferry and light rail, and using the Opal smartcard system for any discounts for frequent use), Uber, taxis, GoGet car sharing, and Thrifty car rental.
SkedGo’s Tripi journey planning application features a digital wallet feature, allowing participants to pay and book for individual trips, or multimodal journeys.
It also functioned as planner which allows users to find a service supplier, and offered a comparison engine, so that users could select their trips based on, amongst other things, cost, travel time, emissions, and health.
Feedback from users
As part of the trial, a selection of participants took part in a series of interviews about their MaaS experience.
Pay As You Go
Of the participant base, 56% chose the Pay As You Go model. Their reasons for this choice of bundle were:
- Lack of a sense of value for money in the other three bundles. They didn’t feel they travelled regularly enough to take up the subscription options
- In some instances they only travelled into the office 2-3 days per week
- They live close to the office, and really only needed the public transport offerings, or walked
- They felt that a subscription would be costly as it would not be used in holiday periods
- In some instances the interviewees noted that they had both a lack of awareness of the benefits of the subscription model, and instead took the ‘easy’ option
- Some baulked at the idea of a commitment to a subscription
44% of the trial group chose one of the subscription packages, a figure that mirrors similar trials in other parts of the world. Many in the group were excited by the novelty of this model, but on reflection after using for a time they wondered if it was a choice that made financial sense. They were not as high a user of the multimodal aspects of the packages, which is where the real value of the subscription play lies.
Most also found it hard to pick apart if they had made best use of the discounts on offer through the Opal Card and discounts based on use.
The actual trial still has some time to run, and upon its conclusion there will be exit interviews from which to glean quantitative and qualitative feedback from the user group.
And then, a final report will be compiled. So it’s very much a watch this space, we’re certainly not done talking about this project!
David Hensher has made his slide deck from our MaaS webinar available.
DOWNLOAD THE SLIDE DECK
UPDATE 4 MAY 2020 – Watch the video of our Mobility as a Service: Progress and new insights from an Australian trial webinar
On 1 May 2020 iMOVE ran a webinar based on a progress report of the MaaS trial in Sydney project. The video is embedded below. It’s just under an hour long, is facilitated by Kate Mackay, and features project lead IAG’s Sam Lorimer, and the research lead Professor David Hensher.