If you have decided to launch your vehicle sharing business using existing software, without developing it from scratch, this article will help you to understand what software features you could seek and ask for.
The sharing business is growing worldwide, as is the number of sharing app providers. At ATOM Mobility from time to time we meet clients who are already using some platform, but are not totally happy with it. Moreover they don't know about the multitude of built-in features that they can have at no extra cost. So let's look at some default as well as “nice to have” features that the best sharing software solutions must have.
Starting the ride
There are several options to start the ride, so the software should be adjustable for all options. It is possible to put a QR code on the vehicle so that the code can be scanned through the app by the user. For the software it means that there should be a functionality in the app that allows the QR code to be scanned, finding the particular vehicle, and allowing the user to drive it as well as letting the system and others know that this vehicle is not currently available.
Another option for the user to start the ride is by clicking the button on the app, thus unlocking it. This function is especially popular in car and moped sharing. The app should link the particular user to the vehicle and the software should allow the ride. Despite the fact that QR codes are more popular, at ATOM we invite our customers to think it over. Unlocking via the app can sometimes be a more reliable choice because QR codes could be broken or not fully visible. In addition, users could have issues with their cameras, so why not start the ride with just one click?
Although it is not very popular, some vehicle sharing companies still offer users the option of making a reservation for the vehicle. In this case, software should do all the jobs - the user identifies the vehicle on the map, makes the reservation, and the vehicle should then wait for this particular user, who scans the QR code or pushes the button when he is ready for the ride. This functionality of keeping the vehicle for a particular time and later offering it to another user should also be automatically managed by the software.
Another challenge is how to avoid the problem of users who missed the previous ride making a reservation for the next ride? And what happens if the same user doesn't show up two times in a row? These limitations on reservations should also be directly available on the platform.
And what happens if a user starts using a vehicle other than the one that was reserved for him? The possibility that this might occur is low, but still should be tested.
Connectivity and tracking the vehicle
Connection to IoT lies on two shoulders – the IoT device that is on the vehicle and the software. It is crucial for you and the operators to always know where the vehicle is located and what its current status is. The software should provide the opportunity to track vehicles and obtain overall information about driving speed, acceleration, and errors. It should also have system alerts in case something happens; for example, someone tries to steal the vehicle or a rider drives outside the parking zone.
Remember that every vehicle makes money for your business every minute that it spends on the street. If something is wrong, then it is in your best interest to know this as soon as possible, as well as to locate the vehicle and dispatch the service team to conduct a check-up. Additionally, if you take care of the fleet and keep it in good condition, malfunctioning risks and additional costs in long term are going to be minimized.
ATOM Mobility software currently supports Segway, Teltonika, Acton, Omni, Okai, Fitrider, Freego, Zimo, Comodule, Hongji, Yadea and Niu IoT devices. Existing integrations allow ATOM Mobility customers to quickly scale the fleet, test and add new vehicle models, and not be limited to their plans. Of course, it is also possible to do custom integrations upon request.
Everything revolves around payments and preventing fraud
Before having anything to do with the user, it is crucial to identify him. In some countries, it is even mandatory, including for scooter and bike-sharing services. But it is also important for your own safety. ATOM Mobility has recently started to collaborate with Veriff – an API solution that allows any website and mobile application to match a person with their government-issued ID. So if the vehicle sharing service provider is using ATOM Mobility software, Veriff's API will directly enable integration of verification processes into mobile apps. It takes less than 2 minutes for Veriff to automatically verify the document. ATOM Mobility supports also other ID verification tools such as Sumsub. However, it is vital to make sure that the tool is robust, offers a good user experience, and is automated and lightning fast before integrating it.
By the way, user experience is very important not only concerning identification, payments, or other separate features but also in regard to the overall convenience of using the platform. Players in the vehicle-sharing business fight for conversions. And this can mean a lot in terms of money. For example, if the software has a conversion rate of 20% on average, then registration for the first ride from 100,000 clients reached will bring less than EUR 225,000 in turnover per month compared to the company that has an average conversion rate of 50%.
When it comes to payments, nowadays there are a lot of payment providers that can be integrated with sharing mobility software. Before choosing one, it is crucial to collect feedback and make sure that integration has a convenient user interface, it is safe and the service provider is stable, i.e. there won't be any significant disruptions. ATOM Mobility clients usually use the most popular global payment providers such as Stripe, Adyen, Paypal and Klarna. In some cases, local payment providers are needed due to legal restrictions, for example, in Saudi Arabia we partner with Hyperpay and in Ukraine, we partner with Concord. So integration with these payment providers is already set up within ATOM Mobility software. Of course, custom integrations can also be done and additional service providers added.
After the payment has been made and the ride has been completed, the invoice should be delivered straight to the user's e-mail box and also made available through the customer profile on the app. For brand awareness and user convenience, it is good that the software is able to personalize the invoice by adding logo and other company details. You can probably even add promotional messages for the next ride. And you should check whether an e-invoice delivered straight to the e-mail address is mandatory, because in some countries it is.
Of course, the most valuable client for the company is one, who makes recurring payments and rides more than once. Recently major players in the field have announced subscription services. In May 2021 Lime rolled out the monthly subscription service Lime Prime. In contrast, Bird offers a monthly fee rent their scooters. The best fleet sharing software has subscription functionality available, so you should definitely consider using it also for your business.
Access through the dashboard and the most advanced features
All the information and functionality mentioned above and a lot more should be accessible through the dashboard available, together with the software and the app. Every employee of the company involved in the vehicle sharing organization process should have convenient access to it from any available device. However, there should be an opportunity to regulate which user has access to what features - different reasons, not every team member needs full access to the dashboard.
Usually, the dashboard helps to manage the fleet, rides, and customers. For the convenience of data analysis, the dashboard should have reporting and data exporting capabilities. An additional feature that you definitely need to look for is heatmaps and rebalancing suggestions, which will help you to plan your fleet and the location of your vehicles by predicting the busiest areas in the city, where vehicles are in the highest demand during certain hours of the day. This functionality is automatically also available through the best software.
Private fleets and working with corporates
And last but not least. Sometimes there is an opportunity to make at least part of your fleet private. This is a corporate and private sharing scheme. In corporate sharing schemes, for example, you can offer part of your fleet to some large company, so this company’s employees have exclusive access to this fleet. In private sharing schemes, you can grant exclusive access to the vehicles to residents of a specific hotel or building. There are many other options available, but the main message is that even this functionality is integrated into the best fleet sharing software, so choose your software partner carefully and wisely.
None of the features discussed here matter if you don’t have an appropriate platform. The biggest complaints from the end users that sharing businesses receive concern the instability of the platform. So always remember to start by checking SLA. It is the indicator of stability that shows the number of minutes during the month that the system experienced some problems. The platform should have indicator of 99.5% -99.9%. If the SLA is lower, all other features don’t make sense as you will definitely received a lot of complaints from the user that something is not working. If you have any additional questions or are interested in integrating some custom features, contact the ATOM Mobility team to find out more. We are one of the biggest and one of the most experienced players in the market.
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For shared mobility operators, fleet insurance should be one of the top priorities. No matter the size or composition of your fleet, having the right insurance can offer peace of mind by protecting your business from unforeseen situations
However, the insurance question can sometimes seem daunting – especially if you're new to the industry. In this article, we will explore the key things you need to know about insuring your shared micromobility fleet.
Why you need insurance
Operating a shared mobility fleet isn’t always smooth sailing. Accidents can happen – whether it's a minor fender-bender or something more severe. Insurance serves as your safety net, offering financial coverage for repairs, replacements, and even potential legal obligations after an incident.
Here are the main reasons why insurance should be one of the top priorities for shared mobility fleet operators:
Legal compliance: In many places, insurance for shared mobility fleets is a legal requirement. You probably want to comply with these regulations to avoid any potential fines, penalties – or even the suspension of your operations.
Financial security: Insurance also helps keep your business going financially, no matter what happens. Without insurance, accidents, vehicle damage, or theft can seriously impact your finances. Comprehensive insurance coverage can ensure that you're not left scrambling to cover any unexpected expenses.
Understanding shared micromobility insurance
When it comes to insuring micromobility fleets, part of the challenge stems from the fact that the market is relatively new. Some insurance underwriters avoid dealing directly with micromobility because it's seen as an unfamiliar market.
This is where brokers like Cachet and others specializing in micromobility insurance come in. They partner with various insurance underwriters to provide coverage for operators in this field.
When it comes to shared micromobility, insurance coverage generally has a twofold role: safeguarding assets and handling third-party engagement in the event of accidents.
Liability coverage: Securing third-party public liability insurance for shared mobility fleets is not just a matter of choice – in some places, it's mandated by law. This insurance serves to protect pedestrians and riders in the unfortunate event of accidents, providing financial coverage for injuries and damages that may arise. In other words, it's a safety net that offers peace of mind to operators.
When it comes to mandatory third-party liability insurance, the negotiations with the insurance company usually begin by figuring out what the local authorities require to give them a permit. After that, the insurance policy is adjusted to meet the specific demands outlined by these authorities.
Physical damage coverage: This covers the repair or replacement costs of vehicles if they are damaged due to accidents, collisions, vandalism, or theft. Depending on the policy, physical damage coverage may also extend to equipment like GPS devices, charging stations, and other hardware.
What decides your insurance premium payments?
The amount you'll pay in premiums depends on various factors that are specific to your business This includes your fleet's makeup, where and how you operate, and the level of coverage you're aiming for.
Fleet usage: The more a shared micromobility fleet is used, the more chances there are for things to go wrong. When a fleet is in high demand and used often, there's a greater likelihood that something might happen that requires insurance coverage.
Rider behavior: Insurance companies also consider the fleet's ability to predict and manage undesirable rider behavior. Reckless riding, improper parking, or violating traffic rules can significantly increase the risk of accidents and incidents. Operators that have better measures in place to anticipate and mitigate such behaviors can demonstrate a lower risk profile to insurance providers.
Value of the fleet: How much your vehicles are worth individually and as a fleet will affect how much you pay for insurance. If your vehicles are expensive, your insurance premiums will be higher because it would cost more to replace them if they get damaged or lost.
Size of the fleet: Operators can often negotiate more favorable insurance rates for proportionally larger fleets. As the number of vehicles increases, the overall expected risk is distributed and “diluted” as a result – which translates to lower premiums per vehicle.
However, some brokers like Cachet have embraced a broader approach, ensuring that smaller and medium-sized fleets can also benefit from insurance coverage.
Technology implementation: Shared mobility services that employ technologies like GPS tracking, telematics, and IoT devices can provide insurers with valuable data. This data can then help assess driver behavior and usage patterns, enabling insurers to offer more accurate and tailored premium rates. This also takes into account how simple it is for scooters to be stolen and how well the recovery processes function – which can also play a role in insurance expenses.
Where you operate: The location in which your fleet operates is another important factor. From the insurer’s perspective, different areas pose varied levels of risk. For example, urban mobility – which is associated with a higher risk of accidents – may incur higher premiums compared to vehicles used in rural areas.
Level of coverage: The level of coverage you choose directly affects how much you pay in premiums. Opting for higher coverage limits means you get more comprehensive protection, but obviously, it also means your insurance costs go up.
Choosing the ideal insurance for your fleet
Every shared mobility fleet and business is different, so your insurance needs will depend on things like the type and size of your fleet, where you operate, how much risk you're comfortable with, and of course – how much you are willing to pay.
For example, do you require coverage for specific risks, like vandalism, or perhaps your fleet is composed of premium vehicles that are more expensive? To make it more relatable, let's dive into a practical case of a shared micromobility operator's experience with insurance.
How Hoog found the right insurance with Cachet
The concept behind Hoog Mobility is to revolutionize transportation in smaller Estonian towns. They recognized the need for efficient and eco-friendly local travel and brought a shared mobility solution often seen in big cities but missing in smaller communities: electric scooters.
Cash-strapped mobility startups often worry about potential damage or vandalism happening to their shared vehicles. This concern is shared by traditional insurance companies too. As a result, these insurers might hesitate to provide coverage for shared scooters, and if they do – it's usually at a higher cost.
Faced with this challenge, Hoog initially operated without insurance due to the steep expenses. But that changed when Cachet provided them with a customized insurance solution that perfectly suited the company's needs. Hoog also realized that the initial worry about vandalism wasn't as much of an issue as they thought. But still – having insurance for their fleet turned out to be a sound financial decision that gave them peace of mind.
Don't underestimate insurance – it's just as crucial as having a top-notch fleet and solid software. Insurance is best approached proactively – discovering you've cut corners after an unforeseen event will cost you significantly more.
Getting insurance for shared micromobility might be a bit trickier since it's still a new concept, but we've seen that even smaller fleets can make it work – it's just a matter of finding a suitable partner who understands your needs.
At the end of the day, insurance isn't merely about meeting legal requirements – it showcases your dedication to safety, responsible operations, and the well-being of everyone involved in your mobility business.
Shared mobility is gaining momentum – offering prospects for reducing traffic, cleaning up city air, and providing users with more flexible transportation options. However, despite its potential, shared mobility often seems to take a backseat to traditional public transportation and private vehicles in the eyes of local authorities and infrastructure planners.
Experts see shared mobility as a game-changing revolution in transportation. It surpasses the earlier revolution of the 20th century when personal cars became widely affordable and accessible. Now, with the rise of shared mobility and environmental concerns, the old notion of "one car per person" is becoming outdated.
In light of this, authorities worldwide should proactively prepare for a future where shared mobility plays an increasingly significant role. In this blog post, we'll explore different ways authorities and legislators can encourage shared mobility – and why it's totally worth it.
The positive impact of shared mobility
Shared mobility has the potential to fix some of the problems we face with transportation today, benefiting users, cities, and the environment. Here are the key benefits of shared mobility:
- Reduced congestion: Shared mobility can alleviate traffic congestion, leading to smoother traffic flow and shorter commute times.
- Environmental sustainability: Shared mobility can reduce the number of vehicles on the road, resulting in lower greenhouse gas emissions and a smaller carbon footprint. This helps combat air pollution and mitigate the environmental impact of transportation.
- Improved transport accessibility and flexibility: Shared mobility services make transportation more accessible, especially for those without private vehicles or limited mobility options. They also offer convenient alternatives to traditional transportation methods.
Considering the urgent need to combat climate change, shared mobility holds a significant promise as a greener transportation option. The European Union's Green Deal aims to achieve a 90% reduction in transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Shared mobility – coupled with increased adoption of electric vehicles and a broader shift in transportation behaviors – will likely play an important role in achieving this goal.
However, for shared mobility to truly flourish and revolutionize transportation, it needs a supportive environment backed by legislative frameworks and infrastructure planning. So, let's take a closer look at how authorities can foster wider adoption of shared mobility.
1. Favorable regulations with an eye on the future
In the past, shared mobility solutions and business models have faced challenges in gaining acceptance from regulators. A prime example is the initial response of local authorities to Uber’s novel services at the time – ordering them to cease their operations immediately.
Shared mobility services can disrupt traditional transportation models – which may not be welcomed by everyone. However, the undeniable popularity of these services, exemplified by the rapid success of Uber, demonstrates the high customer demand.
Instead of battling against it, authorities might want to shift their focus to creating a supportive legislative framework, recognizing the significant benefits shared mobility can bring. It means regulations that prioritize safety, fair competition, consumer protection, and quality standards – creating an environment where shared mobility can thrive and provide reliable services to customers.
Shared mobility is constantly evolving, which means that regulations need to be flexible and adaptable to keep up with emerging technologies and new challenges. For example, as autonomous vehicles become a possibility, authorities will need to establish guidelines for their safe integration into existing transportation networks.
2. A collaborative approach
Collaboration between local authorities and businesses can be a decisive factor in creating a favorable environment for shared mobility. By working together, they can tackle common challenges, share data, and develop integrated transportation solutions.
Public-private partnerships can also involve incentives like tax breaks or subsidies to encourage the adoption of shared mobility. For example, offering tax breaks to companies that implement ride-sharing programs for their employees can encourage the use of shared transportation options instead of individual cars. Similarly, providing subsidies for shared mobility providers can help offset the initial costs of implementing and expanding their services.
Sharing data between shared mobility platforms and transport authorities is another way to benefit from this cooperation. The platforms have valuable information on accidents, trip patterns, and driver availability. Sharing this data with local authorities can help improve the transportation network, enhance travel apps, and identify underserved areas.
3. Building infrastructure to support the future of transportation
To meet evolving transportation needs, authorities should invest in infrastructure that supports innovative modes of transportation like electric vehicles and shared mobility services. By considering the needs of shared mobility users, infrastructure planners can make it a much more attractive transportation option.
Here are the key infrastructure needs for shared mobility:
Integration with existing infrastructure: To offer users smooth and effective transportation choices, shared mobility must seamlessly integrate with current transport systems like public transit. It should enable users to plan multi-modal journeys and switch between different modes of transport without hassle. For example, users should be able to seamlessly transition from a shared bike or scooter to a bus or train.
Charging stations: Keeping shared electric vehicles performing at their best relies on maintaining their charge. This requires establishing a network of strategically positioned charging stations throughout urban areas. If we're aiming for more people to use electric vehicles, we need to make charging them easy and accessible.
Dedicated parking: Shared mobility services need designated parking areas for their vehicles, such as bike racks and car-sharing parking spots. Well-organized parking infrastructure can reduce street clutter and make it easier for others to grab a shared mobility vehicle.
Information infrastructure support: Running shared mobility services smoothly, including handling bookings, payments, and logistics, depends greatly on a reliable information infrastructure foundation. With the advent of advanced networks like 6G, users will increasingly rely on this infrastructure to stay connected and make the most of these services.
The shared mobility landscape in France
Paris's recent ban on free-floating e-scooters has put France in the spotlight. To take a closer look at the shared mobility environment in France, we turned to Manon Lavergne, CEO of Viluso, a shared micromobility operator. We asked for her insights on the state of micromobility in the country.
Since the Mobility Orientation Law in 2019, the French government has been working to make shared transport easier to access everywhere. At COP 26 in 2021, France undertook to cut its CO2 emissions by 55%.
According to Manon, personal vehicle ownership in urban settings is losing favor among many French citizens, and Paris stands out as a shared micromobility epicenter. The city pioneered self-service shared mobility networks like Vélib' (2007), Autolib' (2011), and Cityscoot's shared electric scooters (2016).
However, in April 2023, Paris residents voted to ban free-floating e-scooters in the city. The reasons behind this decision included riders competing for space with pedestrians on sidewalks and complaints about e-scooters cluttering the pavements when parked.
Captur's case study on e-scooter parking habits in Paris revealed that the majority of users encountered no problems when parking scooters in designated bays. However, outside of the designated areas, users had to compete with other vehicles, resulting in poorer parking choices.
This example again emphasizes the need for proper infrastructure to support shared mobility. Lots of cities around the world were mainly designed with private cars in mind – which can create challenges for accommodating shared mobility solutions.
Anne Hidalgo, Paris' Mayor, campaigned with a strong green agenda and has introduced various changes to tackle pollution and traffic jams. Her vision includes a "15-minute city" where people can access work, shopping, healthcare, education, and leisure within a 15-minute walk or bike ride from their homes.
Yet, the chaotic state of free-floating e-scooters in Paris resulted in their ban. This scenario raises a question for other global cities: How can shared mobility be encouraged without disrupting other transportation choices and pedestrian movement?
According to Manon, the upcoming 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, which will draw many visitors, will provide valuable insight into the city's transportation system – including the viability of shared mobility.
Shared mobility is here to stay – so start planning today
By adopting a supportive approach, authorities worldwide can play a crucial role in enabling the full potential of shared mobility. While it may require a shift in mindset, the potential gains of reduced congestion, environmental sustainability, and improved transportation options make it a worthwhile consideration.
We know that shared mobility is here to stay and will only expand in the coming years. By taking a more proactive stance, authorities will be in a better position to integrate and maximize the full benefits of shared mobility.