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Rail travel in the age of sharing economy

September 12, 2018
Author: Eve-Marie Morgo

Some time ago, we analyzed how the sharing economy was impacting railways. From being a threat to an opportunity for many railways today, we take a look at some best practice examples, to highlight the sharing economy potential. 

A growing economy 

The sharing economy is expected to reach $40.2 billion revenues in 2022, from $18.6 billion in 2017.  Transport is leading this growth, and there is much more to it than car-sharing and Uber. It represents an opportunity for rail too. 

According to April RinneSharing Economy Advisor, the sharing economy is based on three principles:

  1. Resource under-utilization: owners monetize their assets by “renting” them. 
  2. Decentralization: social technologies help people to share products and services.
  3. Trust: reputation creates a massive positive disruption in who has power, influence, and trust.

Rail travelers have already started benefiting from collaborative consumption applying these principles. There are online communities where you can benefit from group discountsbuy and sell unused tickets or choose seat according to the travelers’ profiles

THE SHARING ECONOMY ADOPTERS 

In this context, many railways started thinking how they could participate in this travel ecosystem by introducing new business models. 

Deutsche Bahn was one of the first railways to recognize the sharing economy potential. Deutsche Bahn Connect Initiative was born to offer a true door-to-door travel experience. From the car-sharing platform, 'Flinkster' to a bike sharing network 'Call a Bike'.

On the other hand, Renfe, launched a high-speed discounted ticket for up to 4 travelers, aiming to attract new travelers and build loyalty. Quickly an online platform appeared, in order to find a travel companion to share the ticket with and benefit from a discount.  Perhaps in the future railways could integrate such search platforms into their booking engines. 

Lastly, we have seen how governments and railways have opened their data and APIs to foster innovation. In the end, it is all about making the traveler happy. And travelers want to experience mobility simply, cheaply, safely and quickly from door-to-door. Take a look at our travel experiment in the video below. 

 

 

If you would like to know how to strengthen customer focus, download now our whitepaper, or leave us a comment if you have more sharing economy best practice examples. 

 Reinventing rail in europe: the battle for the customer

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