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Hi Laura, you’ve been with ioki for 9 months now. What has been your experience since joining ioki? And what has happened in this time?
My conclusion is that I am even more excited and energised than at the beginning. It’s the passionate people in my organisation and the people I meet at conferences and events who give me the confidence that we can make the transformation in mobility happen. Personally, I have been able to learn a lot about local transport in Europe through dialogues with many inspiring people in the industry that I have met over the last months. It became also more evident for me that the future of mobility is about covering a basic need that should be available to everyone, which currently is not the case. Especially in rural areas but also in suburban areas it is we still have a long way to go.
With my knowledge I am also contributing my private time to my neighborhood to develop the area further by decreasing individual traffic and giving the streets back to people.
Let me share some highlights of 2022: We brought our solutions to new markets in Europe, went live with our first autonomous projects outside Germany in Luxembourg and Switzerland, and our International Sales and Business Development doubled its size. We set up new partnerships, contributed by participating in panels and giving speeches to fruitful conversations of how to shape future mobility. Just to name a few, the Optibus Hub in London, the international mobility summit in Copenhagen, and the autonomous conference of Ruter.
We still have a lot of work ahead of us. At the same time, it makes me very confident that we will manage the transformation in mobility, that is heavily overdue from a social and ecological perspective.
Why did you choose ioki as an employer and what is special about ioki in your opinion?
That was an easy decision. One of the most important reasons for starting at ioki was the people. In my interview, they immediately convinced me, and it felt more like a conversation between friends. At ioki there is a very open and international atmosphere, which I love very much. The corporate language is English, but since my team consists of people from 11 nations, you can always hear a colorful mix of languages in the office between German, English, French, Italian and Spanish.
The second reason was the job itself. I always worked for the international market. It is a joy working with people from different backgrounds and having different challenges. Europe is my home. I love the challenge of building and developing new teams and markets and I felt that ioki is the right company to make the team and the market development a success.
The third criterion was the solution. My goal was to work for a company with purpose. Our sustainable mobility solutions ease the lives of people. The social aspect of mobility is often forgotten. But mobility is important to have access to education, hospitals, jobs and social life. And of course, the impact on climate goals. With our products we cover both social and ecological sustainability goals.
ioki convinced me in all three aspects and here I am extremely happy with a job that fully fulfils me.
What are the characteristics of the different international markets?
In my view, local transport in Europe has more similarities than differences. Most of the countries are facing the problem that public transport is not covering the needs of customers regarding place and time, information, ticketing and the right mode of transport. Also challenges such as driver shortness is a common problem.
However, each country is approaching it differently. Regulations are one major topic to consider when trying to implement new solutions. While we see advanced regulations that support new mobility, such as autonomous driving and on demand services in the UK, Germany and France, other countries still need to implement those regulations. Another important difference is funding. The EU supports new mobility with funding, but also the UK has its own fundings projects. The level of funding from national governments to develop new mobility is very different. Which has an impact on decision makers, that would like to improve mobility but don’t have financial support.
The transformation of mobility is coming in all countries but at different speed.
How can ioki from your perspective contribute to promoting the mobility transition, especially in rural regions?
We have two great instruments. One is that we can support by analysing current mobility offers and matching them with the inhabitants needs. We show where a region has white spots and give concrete input for measures to improve. Secondly, we have a very good software to set up demand responsive transport services. We improve costs and increase revenue for the operator and the city, as well as offering a more seamless journey for passengers. More than 90 percent of on-demand transport with our software is used in rural regions – from small towns in the UK to very village-like counties in Spain. The population in these regions in particular benefits from improved public transport. At ioki, we start our analyses before the actual start of operation and continue our user-centric approach in our platform technology. The nice thing is that this approach can be applied to all countries in Europe.
Thank you, Laura, for your time and for an insight into the international work of ioki. One last question: what do you think, how will ioki evolve in 2023?
You will see that the ioki footprint will increase together with our partners. As the transformation in mobility only works if we all work on it together.
We plan to strengthen our presence in the UK – here we already have strong partners and a good network at our side. Together with our partners and new customers we will launch further services powered by ioki in the coming months. In Spain, France and my beloved second home country Italy we were able to gain a foothold in 2022. Now, we are looking forward to new project launches in the first quarter of 2023.
I am also curious to see how the topic of public transport will develop in Europe in general. With the climate ticket in Austria, the free public transport in Luxembourg and the new planned public transport ticket in Germany, we see that the topic is literally gaining momentum. I am confident that we will see a real revolution in the public transport market in Europe in 2023!