Automotive Blogs

Safe Transportation in the Time of COVID-19

by Roger Lanctot | Mar 26, 2020

A crisis on the pandemic scale of COVID-19 needs a solution of an equally epic scope. The thousands of workers that still actually must show up for work in an environment where public transportation has been cut back or shut down is crying out for help. Enter HERE Mobility.

Tel Aviv-based HERE Mobility has been overwhelmed by requests for assistance from around the world including hospitals, doctors, nurses, first responders, and care givers, all of whom need safe and clean transportation to get to and from work. HERE's head of mobility, Liad Itzhak describes the scenario as a "tsunami."

Luckily for these care givers and other organizations from across the globe, HERE Mobility has the cure for what ails them. HERE Mobility has built a global network of 550 taxi and transportation companies encompassing 2.5M vehicles designed to provide on-demand transportation services for enterprises.

The HERE Mobility platform was originally positioned as an opportunity to rejuvenate the taxi industry and allow taxi operators to aggressively target corporate customers in need of ad hoc transportation all over the world. The goal, for HERE Mobility, was to disrupt the disrupters - in other words, give taxi and limousine operators a leg up in their efforts to compete with ride hailing companies Uber, Lyft, Gett, and others with a reliable, global solution.

The arrival of COVID-19 has accelerated those plans because the onset of the pandemic introduced a market need for vehicles capable of meeting specific criteria including isolation, sanitation, automatic payment, and sufficient space for separation if more than one passenger were to be on board. HERE Mobility is now in the process of putting those criteria in place in order to be able to formally offer hospitals, businesses, first responders, care givers, and others a reliable solution capable of meeting stringent market requirements.

For obvious reasons, medical professionals requiring transport require isolation, notably of the nature provided by a full plastic partition protecting the passenger compartment. If you are a doctor, a nurse, or a care giver of some kind, or even a law enforcement officer or a retail clerk, your employer will need to provide you a safe means of getting to and from work. For healthcare workers this can be particularly important given the typical 12-hour shifts currently required - meaning you also need a safe way of getting home when you are probably not in a condition to drive yourself.

HERE Mobility is working to firm up its ability to fulfill these criteria - isolation, sanitation, automatic payment, multiple passenger vehicles - across its global network of taxi and limousine operators. It is perhaps one, small, positive transformative element of the pandemic's impact. The arrival of COVID-19 is establishing a new consumer expectation for the delivery of a particular quality of service from taxi and limousine operators.

I personally feel this change will be permanent. I believe taxi partitions will gain renewed appreciation for their ability to protect drivers and passengers alike - guaranteeing safe transactions and transportation. I expect a similar distancing enhancement to be added to supermarket checkouts around the world. It's a small thing, that makes a big difference in this time of crisis.

Hat's off to HERE Mobility for setting a new global standard in on-demand transportation and creating a platform whereby taxi and limousine operators can benefit from being part of a larger network. It represents novel thinking that preceded by two years the arrival of this deadly novel coronavirus. It's the right solution at the right time.

Details of the HERE Mobility offer can be found here: file:///C:/Users/rlanctot/AppData/Local/Microsoft/Windows/INetCache/Content.Outlook/M44HY6XH/HERE%20Mobility%20-%20Restricted%20Users%20Marketplace.pdf

For further insight into mobility strategies, regulations, decision making, please register for and join a Strategy Analytics Webinar, for this Thursday, March 26th:

Swiss MaaS: The Evolution of Mobility in Switzerland, Europe and the World

https://www.strategyanalytics.com/strategy-analytics/webinars-and-events/webinars/strategy-analytics-webinar/swiss-maas-the-status-of-mobility-in-switzerland-europe-and-the-world

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