Towards a single market for shared mobility in Europe

Jul 2, 2024

Read our full position paper.

Shared mobility portion of urban transport is projected to double, covering 7% of all urban trips by 2030. It will flexibly complement public transport to make mobility more affordable, create significant economic benefits, and reduce personal car use by up to 20% in major cities.

Unfortunately, regulations across Europe are not keeping pace with shared mobility innovation. They constrain services, harm consumers, and significantly affect cities.

Ride-hailing is a key service for shared mobility and currently has record levels of passenger demand. However, outdated and inconsistent rules mean that major cities like Barcelona, Rome, or Hamburg have less than one ride-hailing vehicle per 1,000 inhabitants — nowhere near enough to meet demand. 

Passengers and drivers also battle various artificial hurdles designed to restrict competition: 

  • In Germany, Private Hire Vehicle (PHV) drivers have to do an empty run “back to the garage” when not immediately rebooked.
  • In Spain and, possibly soon, Italy, passengers have to book a ride up to 30 minutes in advance in some regions.
  • In Greece, the minimum duration for PHV hire is 3 hours.

Restrictions like these lead to higher prices, longer pickup times, and a less reliable service. 

Ultimately, these restrictions also negatively affect city economies, as there are fewer income opportunities for professional drivers, local businesses suffer, and fewer people have access to the wider shared mobility ecosystem, which could reduce dependence on personal cars.

Regulatory issues are not limited to ride-hailing. Shared electric bikes and scooters can cover a range of short journeys under 3 km and play a vital role in connecting to city public transport. Local regulations that are not fit for purpose drive up prices and restrict competition. 

This has a knock-on impact on cities, as 50% of scooter journeys have the potential to connect to public transport, 30% are for commuting, and 20% are for leisure. 

Cities simply cannot afford to lose these journeys.

Shared solutions

An effective solution could be an EU-wide approach that creates a single market for urban shared mobility services, promotes fair competition, and gives passengers more transport options.

Streamlined rules would ensure certainty and consistency for both consumers and service providers, making on-demand transport more reliable and affordable for passengers.

Regulations shouldn’t impose arbitrary limits. Instead, they should create more choices for users and cities, provide better earning opportunities for professional drivers, and result in a more efficient urban transport system overall.

Find out more from our full position paper here or reach out to our team at:

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