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Taxi Times International - August 2015 - Deutsch

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UITP CONGRESS UITP

UITP CONGRESS UITP CONGRESS Carlo Ratti: “We need to be able to listen to the city.” Peter Hendy: “Do I have a taxi meter in my pocket?” Similar to Daimler’s Moovel, but broader in its application: Smile from Wiener Stadtwerke. Conny Bieze: broad and differentiated mobility Dutch style. and traffic.” In his presentation Ratti mentioned new forms of transportation “which will really change today’s cities and particularly the use of space. Just think of autonomous vehicles which don’t need parking spaces close to living areas but arrive on demand.” At the same time Ratti warned – based on his own experiences in Boston – for “less centralization of modes of transport, for more apps and against public transport as integrator.” Ratti is clearly in favour of a free for all of competing and complementing apps and modes. But where does the taxi come in? ‘TAXI METER IN YOUR POCKET’ UITP-president Hendy had already mentioned it during the opening press conference: the name(s) of the game in the next years will be urbanization (most of the worlds’ population will be living in cities), digitalization, congestion and sustainability. This mantra would come back during the entire congress. Here the UITP clearly sees a leading role for itself and for public transport to keep cities (and societies) liveable and sustainable. “That’s why”, according to UITP secretary-general Alain Flausch, “PTx2, the UITP’s 2009 project to double public transport’s market share by 2025, was launched.” Inspired by a similar Swedish approach (‘Fördubbling’), PTx2 is to create a seachange in public transport use in 10 years’ time. Almost half way, some cities are really doing well en-route to that goal of doubling market share, other cities are not doing so well. Differences run through developed countries and developing ones, the latter prone to strong urbanization. The first question during the UITP-congress press conference was remarkable: ‘How does UITP see the activities of Uber and is Alain Flausch: “Taxis are an integral part of public transport.” »New forms of transportation will really change today’s cities and particularly the use of space« Carlo Ratti this a form of competition for public transport?” This was the first, but not the only time this question was put to UITP or to any panel in the various discussions. Hendy was clearly wearing his Transport for London (TfL)-hat (regulator of most forms of transport in the British capital – including taxis and private hire) and said that TfL could not ban Uber because they have fulfilled all requirements. His comment on the opposition from the London taxi trade was somewhat flippant, as he stated that he found London’s taxi trade’s complaint against Uber a bit far-fetched: it sees use of fare-calculating smartphone apps in private hire vehicles as fitting these vehicles with taxi meters. And these are not allowed in private hire. “So, does that mean that everyone with a smartphone has a taximeter in his pocket?” Hendy quipped. It was clear that Hendy didn’t see his local taxi trade as the most modern in the transportation sector. “The taxi trade will have to adapt and that will be a painful process.” Not just the taxi trade will have to adapt, private hire (the ‘minicabs’) will also have to change its ways too: there are just too many minicabs in London, they’re clogging the streets and parking areas and they are just too polluting. On a positive note (for the professional industry), the pedicabs (rickshaws), the taxi industry has always fought against for needlessly clogging up streets and taxi ranks, will probably be banned by London’s mayor Boris Johnson, according to Hendy. SMART CITIES What tomorrow’s Smart City should look like, was discussed in a fascinating seminar with participants from intergovernmental organisations dealing with climate and the economy, plus leading speakers from Vienna and Mexico City. According to all participants public transport can enable many other goals like a hike in the price of building lots caused by the construction of a new metro line or making the city more compact and helping to fight congestion. However, the relevant technology which should enable that process is not (yet) used in quite a few cities, whilst others have enthusiastically embraced these tools. Again: data are the key. Here too. Uber offered Mexico City to share the data from its trips with the city, so the city could use PHOTO: Wim Faber PHOTO: Smile, Wim Faber these in its planning. A strange move, because the last thing this tech company really wants to do is to share its data. And remarkable too, because Uber offered the same to Boston, only to withdraw its offer a few days later. What tomorrow’s mobility is (probably) going to look like: intermodal with very many hubs. Not just a mantra in this particular seminar, but also in many others at this congress stuffed full of interesting seminars. It shouldn’t just be the public transport system which is smart, the same goes for the city itself via smart planning by authorities, building on large data flows. UBERPOP FOR RURAL AREAS? UITP’s taxi platform, created a few years ago, held a separate session, in which the focus was very much on Asia and the Middle East. The next major sessions of this taxi platform will also be held in these regions. Interesting to note was the strong top-down approach from Dubai’s regulator (various differentiated taxi fleets under one government department) and the strong role the taxi industry plays as part of public transport, particularly in the Gulf States. In its wish to improve the taxi system, and make it safe for women to use – the app GrabTaxi presented a different view of the app-process. GrabTaxi, mainly operational in South East Asia with its fragmented taxi markets and very popular with taxi users, was launched by Harvard graduates on the basis of a non-profit approach and is conquering one country after another. Many governments haven’t thought about their (new) role in steering or modifying traditional public transport. It is a world – not unlike the taxi industry – which is conservative and with UITP AWARD FOR WIENER STADTWERKE’S ‘SMILE’ In this world full of competing apps and different mobility solutions, the best (experimental) solution for integrated and differentiated mobility solutions came from the Wiener Stadtwerke (a local government department including various forms of public transport and the supply of electricity and gas). Within their department of ‘New Urban Mobility’ it had tried and tested an app combining various forms of »The taxi trade will have to adapt and that will be a painful process« mobility: Smile. Smile not only combined information on and payment for public transport services, but also various other forms of service, like filling up e-cars with electricity, booking taxicabs and ordering bikes. Goal of the experiment: to find out to what extent such an app would be accepted by the Vienna population. And that, according to Stadtwerke’s Ilse Stockinger, a 1.000 testusers had shown was absolutely no problem. That’s why Peter Hendy companies holding traditional views and operating practices. It is also a world constantly under threat of budget cuts. The speech of Conny Bieze, the woman in charge of public transport in Gelderland, a large mainly rural province in the Netherlands, caused a bit of a stir. According to her the bus as backbone of a rural public transport system is ‘a thing of the past’. Instead she held a plea for operating the widest variety of public transport means. The traditional ones and new ones. All based on the needs of the user and ranging from the (subsidized) electric bike for school kids to get to and from school, via cars and minibuses driven by volunteers, to trains and a variety of (mini)buses. And why not use UberPOP or something similar for these rural areas? A curious remark as UberPOP is banned in The Netherlands. This diversity in new mobility should be organized as close to the user as possible. Preferably on the level of local government, Bieze said. Quite a few listeners got the impression that Bieze left her citizens to their own devices, although it is her intention to steer and finance mobility differently, not offer less mobility. A refreshing new approach. wf the mobility assistant was rewarded by a UITP Award for ‘Customer Experience’. And quite rightly so. Now Stadtwerke is busily working on rolling out a ‘real’ ‘Smile’. A month earlier the same All forms of mobility and more in one app? It can be done according to Ilse Stockinger. Stadtwerke started the world’s largest E-Taxi project, aiming at a large-scale experiment with 250 E-Taxis in Vienna in 2016 and closely working together with the local taxi industry. 16 TAXI AUGUST / 2015 17

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