Interview with John David von Oertzen, Managing Director and CEO of Mobimeo
Two start-ups, one goal: to make sustainable everyday mobility easier for everyone, everywhere. This shared vision led Mobimeo, the Deutsche Bahn AG tech start-up founded in 2018, to forge a partnership with FAIRTIQ, the Swiss start-up that has been developing and implementing innovative solutions to make the world's public transport ticketing systems simple, since 2016.
In October 2022, FAIRTIQ's check-in/check-out solution was integrated in the 'Mobility Stuttgart' app, which Mobimeo developed and operates as part of its Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) platform. Thanks to FAIRTIQ technology, Stuttgart S-Bahn users can easily combine the flexible digital ticket with the comprehensive services offered on the MaaS platform. The Mobility Stuttgart app provides travellers with a detailed overview of the fastest bus and train connections as well as transit alternatives offered by shared mobility providers. If the user decides to take public transport, their ticket is generated and displayed conveniently and simply on their smartphone. This means that they no longer have to be familiar with fare zones and schedules or work out which ticket offers the best value for money. FAIRTIQ technology does it for them and charges the lowest fare available for the journey. FAIRTIQ's proprietary app was also launched in the city and can be used not only on all bus and train services run by the Stuttgart transport and fare association VVS, but in other participating transport regions as well.
FAIRTIQ is delighted that cooperation with Mobimeo has gone so well and believes that it is helping to advance passenger-friendly and networked mobility. But what does Mobimeo think about the partnership? In the following interview, John David von Oertzen, Managing Director and CEO of Mobimeo, talks about cooperation with FAIRTIQ, as well as the place of simple fare and ticketing solutions for the urban mobility of the future.
FAIRTIQ: Mobimeo and FAIRTIQ are two tech start-ups working in the mobility sector. What do you have in common and how do you differ?
John David von Oertzen: As tech companies, FAIRTIQ and Mobimeo are important partners for the mobility industry. We have a shared interest in developing digital and innovative solutions for the public transport sector and are convinced that sustainable mobility can only work if there is a robust public transport system in place. FAIRTIQ and Mobimeo also create their digital products in line with user needs. Innovative ticketing technologies and easy digital access to mobility make for a positive user experience (UX). In terms of what they offer, FAIRTIQ and Mobimeo complement each other really well – FAIRTIQ's focus is on check-in technology that can be used in different fare regions, while Mobimeo's focus is on developing a nationwide Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) platform that integrates different mobility products and different technologies, like FAIRTIQ's.
FAIRTIQ: Why did Mobimeo decide to partner with FAIRTIQ?
Mobimeo wants to change how we move around our cities. Our contribution to realising this vision is to offer an easy-to-use digital solution. On our MaaS platform, we build white-label apps for transport companies and associations, such as the Mobility Stuttgart app for users of the city's S-Bahn services. Partnerships are vital for the further development of our platform and the realisation of our vision. Cooperation with FAIRTIQ is a great chance to embrace an innovative solution that makes it even easier for Mobility Stuttgart app users to buy their tickets. Buying tickets for public transport services with different fare schedules, zones and season tickets and travelcards tended to be a pretty confusing affair. The 'check-in ticket' means that users no longer have to worry about whether they have the right ticket or not. At the end of each day, the system calculates the lowest fare available for the journeys the user has made in that period.
FAIRTIQ: How have you found cooperation with FAIRTIQ so far?
John David von Oertzen: After the check-in ticket was launched in the Mobility Stuttgart app, we worked together on further developing the product. The first version, which was released in October 2022, was actually a minimal viable product (MVP) that only came with basic check-in/check-out functions. But we haven't stopped working to improve it ever since. In January this year, we completed the second phase, which was the integration and launch of the new 'Smart check-out' feature. Once this function is activated in the app, users no longer have to end the journey manually; the app does it for them automatically. The collaborative process was professional and on an equal footing. We were able to tap into FAIRTIQ's check-in/check-out technology and improve the UX for our Mobility Stuttgart app users.
FAIRTIQ: How have users reacted to the check-in/check-out solution?
John David von Oertzen: User feedback is really important when we are developing new features and refining existing ones. This also applies to the check-in/check-out ticket. We not only analyse the feedback posted on the store but also carry out usability tests and user interviews on an ongoing basis. We have received very detailed and positive feedback on the check-in/check-out ticket. Many users have also shared their ideas and suggestions on how we could further develop the feature. This shows that it is used a lot and there are even more potential applications to explore.
FAIRTIQ: What do you think about multimodal fare products which let travellers combine public transport use and private mobility services?
John David von Oertzen: If we are to create an attractive alternative to private car use, we need to offer easy-to-use mobility options that cover all kinds of mobility needs. New fare models also play a major role for us. An interesting approach, for example, is the mobility budget that employers can offer their employees. The idea behind this is to provide a budget that everyone can use as they wish for different means of transport, whether it is public transport, car-sharing services or on-demand shuttles. We see totally new opportunities to create attractive multimodal products that could be combined with the 'Deutschland-Ticket' (limitless use of local public transport services for 49 euros per month).
FAIRTIQ: Finally, when you look into your crystal ball, what does the fare and sales environment look like in Germany 10 years from now? And what will Mobimeo's role be?
John David von Oertzen: There is a huge amount of work to be done in the next 10 years if we, and the transport sector in particular, are to reach our emission targets. But I feel optimistic about it. In recent months, major progress has been made thanks to developments like the introduction of the 9-euro ticket and the upcoming launch of the 'Deutschland-Ticket'. The industry has never experienced such a fundamental change in such a short time, and few predicted it. I think that more innovative flat rate-style fare models will come on stream which will lead to simpler and adapted structures within the industry in the long term, not unlike the changes that have occurred within the mobile communications sector. Over the next decade, I hope that users will have to concern themselves less with fare regions and structures because the price they have to pay for their journeys will be calculated for them, in the background. Mobimeo's work with its major partners will enable it to offer access to everyday urban mobility nationwide. The apps, which are built on Mobimeo's MaaS platform, will make it easy to search for, select, book and pay for all means of transport, just like the check-in ticket in Stuttgart already does today.
Thank you, John David von Oertzen, for the great interview!
About John David von Oertzen
John David von Oertzen is Managing Director and CEO of Mobimeo. He and his team are clear about their vision – making mobility easier and cities greener – and are committed to bringing it to fruition. Mobimeo's products are designed to make it easier for everyone to adopt their behaviour and shift from car use towards shared and sustainable mobility alternatives. John David is also an experienced consultant and company founder, has extensive mobility expertise and is a pioneer in the field of Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) solutions.