Ride-pooling services have a hard time earning revenue and many have fallen by the wayside before reaching profitability. MARTIN BENSLEY profiles the Moia shuttle service in the German city of Hamburg which has been operating for four years and plans to expand using self-driving minibuses.

A Moia minibus underway in central Hamburg, one of two German cities on which the company is placing most focus.

Modern ride-pooling is a great idea on paper. Several people share an all-electric minibus going in a similar direction, which picks them up and drops them off at or near the desired destination for a modest fee.

The advantages are obvious: passengers get to where they want to go quickly and cheaply. The service is also kind to the environment. So far so good, yet it seems many people do not like “sharing” a minibus taxi.

In Germany, only in the cities of Hamburg and Hannover does the concept offered by Volkswagen-backed Moia, with its well-turned out bronze and black shuttles, work successfully. Ride-pooling services have vanished from Munich and most of the capital Berlin, where one called Berlkönig failed.


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