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Are mobility operators meeting the challenges of COVID-19?

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We understand you’re probably bored of COVID content, right? But it’s important we give you answers to your questions. It’s crucial that you feel safe and reassured right now. So whether you’re looking to hire a car, a black cab, a private taxi or a fancy limousine – what are these mobility operators doing to meet the challenges presented by COVID?

We spoke with our very own Paul Grant, Head of Enterprise at Gett about the COVID challenges affecting mobility operators, he said:

“It’s increasingly difficult to maintain an active supply base during a period of prolonged reduced demand, together with the changing requirements and the high safety measurements now required.

“Mobility operators need to think out of the box as to how they appeal to the travellers’ safety needs while keeping the service economically priced. Corporate buyers of ground transport also need to rethink what the true value of providing a COVID safe service in the new world. Duty of Care must be balanced against just choosing a ‘cheap’ service, where corners may very well be cut.”

With increased anxiety across the corporate and mobility sectors, this blog post aims to give you insight into how mobility operators are meeting the challenges COVID-19 has presented them with.

Mobility operators can adapt quickly

One thing we’ve learnt is that mobility operators are quick to react and adapt their processes to fit in-line with government advice. At the start of the pandemic, our lives changed, and we became aware of a new ‘normal’. Official advice was fast-paced, and many employers felt confused and generally uncertain about what their business now looked like.

Quickly, industries adapted to work-from-home models and slowly, we all adjusted. Just like employees adapted, mobility operators adapted, too. Instead of driving corporate clients around local and internationally, they spent time improving their offering. Installing perspex screens and ensuring all drivers took the necessary health and safety precautions (wearing a mask, installing hand sanitiser stations and self-isolating with symptoms), companies adapted and continue to thrive with their new procedures.

Digitisation will be key for seamless connectivity

The World Economic Forum reported that to keep the mobility system moving forward, we must all embrace digital transformation. With the global fast-food chain, McDonald’s only accepting contactless payment – many other brands are starting to adapt and adopt a cashless future.

To keep ground travel quick, smooth and seamless, strengthening their digitisation is key. From cashless travel experiences to digital notifications to inform you your ride is outside. All these processes were already in place before COVID for many mobility operators. Still, for those who didn’t have it in place, it will support travelling employees. Why? Without the need to worry about cash, standing outside to hail down a taxi or wait outside amongst passersby until your driver arrives – the digital experience will continue to evolve ground travel and help transport it effortlessly into a post-COVID world.

Your travelling employees can ditch the company car and public transport – instead, they can jump inside a private car hire to get to their destination, worry-free.

It’s essential that going forward mobility operators adopt a digital-first approach to their apps and supported systems to ensure the best possible experience for its riders.

MaaS shift their focus to help communities

One of the biggest challenges mobility as a service (MaaS) has faced is a decline in users. Although some locations could be witnessing increased user capacity, some countries are seeing a decrease in users. The reduction is to be expected as riders stay indoors under forced lockdown, or have been furloughed from their jobs. Instead, mobility operators are turning their hand to help key workers.

Cardiff University in Wales, UK, stated they, together with NextBike, have extended their free bike hire membership offering to NHS staff and key workers. Krysia Solheim, Managing Director at NextBike, said of the scheme:

“We were really pleased to be able to offer this support last month to our frontline workers, delivering a service with as much safety as possible on their commute to work.

“To be able to extend that for a further month, while the virus is still putting a huge strain on our NHS, makes us very proud. We are eternally grateful to Cardiff University and the team at Pedal Power for making this happen.”

It’s great to see mobility operators across all sectors turn their hand to support a different cause during this global pandemic.

Many mobility operators were already well-equipped for digitisation (cashless transactions and driver and rider tracking software). But it seems they have also shown their ability to adapt to government restrictions and health precautions quickly; the pandemic has presented this sector with the chance to strengthen its offering. Ground travel providers have now got the opportunity to deliver a service that is not only corporately convenient and cost-effective but also sufficiently adheres to social distancing and eases traveller worry at this time.

As an employer, how can you help improve your employees’ wellbeing when travelling? After this pandemic, your organisation should be prioritising health and safety – particularly with the employees travelling locally and internationally. If they don’t feel comfortable and secure, you’re doing them a disservice. Read next: Post-COVID ground travel: how can you improve employee wellbeing?

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