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Public consultations on SocialCar service models

A series of local consultation group meetings took place in the second half of September across the SocialCar test sites; with the goal to discuss how SocialCar can translate into a concrete service model for citizens. The meetings involved local politicians, business executives, transport and software engineers, entrepreneurial experts, city officials, public transport and road infrastructure representatives as well as representatives from the voluntary sector.

The SocialCar roadshow kicked off in Edinburgh and Luxembourg simultaneously on 16th September. While SEStran and Liftshare, two of the SocialCar consortium members, already constitute an integrated service model in Edinburgh, the local action group also considered links to the running and cycling app Strava, the car clubs Enterprise, E-Car and Co-Wheels, as well as the MaaS alliance in Scotland.  The Luxembourg stakeholders are looking into synergies with the KPMG data working group, the working group on sustainable mobility at the Luxembourgish Ministry of Sustainable Development and Infrastructure, as well as a public tender for multimodal mobility integration planned by Verkéiersverbond, the Luxembourgish public transport authority.

Opened by Mayor Koce Trajanovski, the meeting in Skopje took place in a ceremonial atmosphere in the plenary hall of the city council marking the 19th September as a carpooling day. Representatives of the United Nations Development Programme expressed their interest in SocialCar, suggesting synergies between SocialCar and the Skopje service “my city”. Officials from the city administration voiced ideas as to how SocialCar users could be incentivised, suggesting that in the winter months, when the air pollution levels rise significantly, the city authorities could admit only SocialCar users into the city centre. 

The meeting in Zagreb on 20th September paved the ground for reciprocal marketing and cooperation among taxi drivers, bike and car sharing providers. The Croatian Agency for SMEs, Innovations and Investments expressed interest to support potential joint ventures and to further exchange with SocialCar on business development aspects. The public transport operator and Croatian railways reaffirmed their support and willingness to share data. Radio Taxi Zagreb is contemplating integration with the bike sharing scheme Next Bike based on SocialCar.

The plenary hall of yet another city council hosted a SocialCar public consultation on 21st September. The meeting in Ljubljana was opened by Mayor Zoran Janković and gathered a number of stakeholders from the public, private and voluntary sectors including the Slovenian Ministry of Infrastructure, mobility providers, environmentalists and transport engineers. Moreover, a number of representatives from other municipalities attended the meeting contemplating the adoption of SocialCar. The service model for Ljubljana would integrate the public transport operator, the Slovenian railways, a bike sharing scheme BicikeLJ, as well as the carpooling start-up Reportedly, the Park & Ride system in Ljubljana had further integration potential.

Following the welcome speech from Deputy Mayor Maria Lapietra of Turin on 22nd September, two taxi companies and the start-up MOVE PLUS signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the introduction of a new taxi-sharing service based on SocialCar. It is expected to be launched in January 2017 in a trial phase for certain routes serving the airport, train stations or event locations.

A number of public and private stakeholders in Ticino endorsed the SocialCar proposal on 26th September in Manno. Particular interest in SocialCar came from the carpooling start-up Bepooler, which cooperates with city administrations and petrol stations, and contemplates the extension of their business model towards public transport integration.

The Brescia Info Point hosted a SocialCar public gathering on 27th September. Particular interest in integration through SocailCar was shown by the tourism start-up DEG VOICE, Coop. Radiotaxibrixia, and FNM Autoservizi SpA, a rail transport company operating in Brescia province. DEG VOICE operates their own app for tourism attractions, and are considering using the SocialCar software as a multimodal route planner to their destinations; a service they are currently missing. Recognising common ground, Radiotaxibrixia offered to provide their taxi data for the SocialCar integration in Brescia.

The meeting of the Lazio action group took place on 28th September, gathering mobility managers of large-scale institutions, road transport authorities and various business representatives. A new platform that integrates carpooling and public transport was launched on 19th September in Rome. The platform seeks further integration with car sharing and taxi services. Both Rome Mobility Service and Moovit, who are behind the new platform, expressed a strong interest to cooperate with SocialCar in terms of software engineering but also reciprocal communication and marketing. Further interest in SocialCar came from the electric car sharing company SHARENGO, the first electric scooter sharing service in Rome 2Hiresharing,  as well as Autostrade per l’Italia, who operate a carpooling platform with 10,000 users active in Milan, Varese, Como and Rome Areas and is willing to share  real time data on road traffic.

A number of meetings were covered by local, regional and national mainstream media outlets.

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