With the early days of the pandemic – when lockdowns and fear
of public settings transformed everyday life – now far in the rear view, companies
providing all types of ground transportation have seen a resurgence.
Particularly this summer, as travel has boomed and staffing challenges have created frustrations around air travel, sectors
such as rail, car rental and ride-hailing have picked up business that might
have otherwise been handled by short-haul flights. In addition, increasing concern
for the changing climate is creating tailwinds for ground transportation.
Investors are buying in, too. According to Phocuswright’s State
of Travel Startups 2022 report, from 2012 through May of this year, ride-hailing
is the second-most-funded vertical studied, coming in with $7.3 billion in that
nearly 10-year period, just behind the hotel/hostel vertical. Urban
transportation – spanning autonomous driving technology, eVTOL and other forms
of public and mass transportation – is the third-most-funded vertical ($5.5 billion) and bike/scooter
is fourth ($4.4 billion). Car rental has brought in $1.6 billion and taxi-hailing $998 million, with bus and rail bringing in
$462 million and $34 million, respectively.
In a Center Stage session at Phocuswright Europe, Trainline Partner
Solutions president Champa Magesh, Blacklane co-founder and CEO Jens Wohltorf
and Door2Door chief commercial officer André Gerhardy discussed how their respective businesses have fared in the past year, as well as what changes from the pandemic will
stick and what they are prioritizing for the future.
Magesh explained how Trainline is investing in its platform
and working to create more points of sale for rail tickets.
Wohltorf – who said Blacklane lost 99% of its revenue during
a three-week period in April 2020 – shared the ways in which the company has “reinvented”
itself, resulting in revenue at 250% higher than its best pre-COVID months.
Gerhardy discussed Door2Door’s two core products – on-demand
ride-pooling and mass mobility-as-a-service – as well as how the company is working to
integrate “last-mile” and long-distance transportation into one system.
“Because a big barrier of having people using the train for their
vacation is that there is no reliable last-mile mobility, and connecting these
two things and elements together is a really big lever for allowing sustainable
and CO2-friendly tourism,” he said.
Watch the full discussion below.
Executive Roundtable: Common Ground - Phocuswright Europe 2022