Partner in the Spotlight CARRIS

Shift2MaaS counts 12 partners, who all have a different role in the project. We are putting the spotlight on all of them, asking about their role in the project, their interest into Shift2Rail IP4 technologies, and their commitment to enabling seamless passenger experience. For this edition we spoke to João Vieira, Director of CARRIS, a public transportation company in Lisbon. 
Can you explain what was exactly the role of CARRIS in the Shift2MaaS project?
CARRIS participated in Shift2MaaS as a public transport operator, i.e. we were going to test the functionalities developed by IP4 projects aimed at operators directly and engage our end-customers to test those functionalities directly aiming at passengers. In addition we also worked as Coordinator of the tests in the Lisbon Demo Site, serving as a contact point between the other Lisbon partners  – EMEL and Fertagus which also operate transport systems - and the rest of the consortium.

Can you tell us a bit about multimodality in Lisbon, and how you expect projects such as Shift2MaaS to contribute to improving multimodality and mobility in general, in the city?

In the past urban transport was characterized by ‘captive’ passengers, i.e. people that would choose one mode of transport and stick to it for most of the trips. In other words some people would buy a car and use the car for all their mobility needs, others would buy a bike and cycle and others would buy a public transport monthly card and move around mostly by public transport.

The future seems much different from this. with a substantial amount of people willing to use different modes according to their needs. For example, a student in its daily commuter may get a bicycle and use it most of the time, but also use public transport whenever is late or the weather is not as cycle friendly and a car when travelling in group. As operators we need to be able to adapt our offer to meet these new customer needs, as conquering this occasional user is increasingly important – for our business model, for the city and to achieve our decarbonization targets and avoid most dangerous climate change. That where Shift2MaaS can help a lot, as the name says we need to evolve from ticketing systems mostly designed for frequent users to new ones that meet the needs of these customers that want to navigate freely and easily between modes of transport, including private transport.

Shift2MaaS aimed to demonstrated the benefits of IP4 technologies for the uptake of MaaS platforms and had a pilot in Lisbon. Can you tell us a bit more about this pilot: what exactly was tested and what were the results?
I have to start by noting that COVID-19 has taken a serious hit in our pilot plans, implying that we had to adapt our plans and methodologies a reality in which cities where in lockdown and all but essential travel was not recommended.

Accordingly we have implemented three tests: one aiming at operators, testing the tools that allow one (or more) operators to register in a MaaS system and create ‘packages’; one indoor pilot in which we simulated a trip from a computer, from the planning of the trip, to ticket acquisition, issuing, validation and even inspection; and finally one outdoor pilot in which all these functionalities where tested in real operation. I would underline two results.  First, it was possible to integrate the various technologies and have a rather ‘seamless travel’, both in the indoor and outdoor pilots. So there are many technological challenges but it is actually possible to overcome them.

The second aspect is that we need to keep focusing on the backoffice for the operators and authorities. Compared to addressing technological challenges these more legal, organizational and institutional aspects may seem minor, but the truth is that they are absolutely critical to succeed.

From your perspective, what could further boost the deployment of S2R IP4 technologies at European scale?
I think more demonstrations are needed, especially for more international & interregional use cases and for niche market segments like people with disabilities. Shift2MaaS proved that in order to implement MaaS a large effort is necessary, both to address technological but also organizational aspects. Whilst I am sure the market will deliver solutions for implementing MaaS in large cities, the pathway to have solutions to more niche segments like those I mentioned is less clear (as there is less business interest).

In addition this would have the benefit of contributing to create standards – maybe not formal standards but ‘references’ – which is key to facilitate deployment and to avoid that public transport operators and authorities end up effectively captured by private market players, which can then have a large market influence and dominance (e.g. big IT firms, dominant payment schemes).