Eileen Mandir

MOIA shuttle — Solving the empty seat problem

MOIA shuttle on street in Hamburg
MOIA shuttle on the streets of Hamburg (photo: MOIA)

Why are public transport services operated at fixed schedules and routes? What would happen if we had access to public transport within 5 minutes at any time anywhere in the city? How might new mobility services help to reduce congestion in cities?

Moia was founded in 2016 as an on-demand urban shuttle service by an independent company under the umbrella of the Volkswagen Group. In October 2017, Moia launched a pilot project in the city of Hanover (DE) to test the acceptance of pooling and pricing under real-life conditions - using a fleet of classical combustion engine VW vans.

In April 2019, Moia launched the zero-emission ride-pooling service in Hamburg (DE) with 100 all-electric MOIA vehicles. The service offered several thousand virtual stops for the easy and safe boarding and alighting of passengers within the 200 square kilometers large service area. More than 400 drivers were hired and specially training for the Hamburg launch.

MOIA makes electric driving available to everyone. We complement the city’s existing mobility opportunities and offer an attractive alternative to your own car. By bundling together similar journeys, we increase the efficiency of road traffic. Our goal is to reduce noise, congestion and air pollution.

Robert Henrich

Besides the service itself - meaning vehicles, passenger-app, driver-app, service area, pooling algorithm, pricing scheme, etc. - the project addresses systemic aspects of designing a new mobility service within an existing eco-system. Maintaining, loading, and operating such a large full-electric vehicle fleet brought new design challenges such as hiring enough drivers without depleting the already stressed job market or implementing new powerful loading infrastructure in the existing city grid.

Woman boarding a MOIA shuttle at predefined pick-up points
Interior seating in MOIA shuttle
Luggage compartment in MOIA shuttle
Press conference at MOIA maintainance workshop
MOIA shuttle fleet at mainatinance workshop in Hamburg
MOIA electric shuttles during loading

Side Facts

Currently, Moia operates its ride pooling services in Hamburg and Hanover with a special permit under the experimentation clause of the Passenger Transport Act, which allows for the practical testing of new modes of transport such as ride pooling for a limited period. In March 2021, the Federal Council unanimously passed the amendment to the Passenger Transport Act, which will give ride pooling services such as MOIA a legally secure basis and anchor them in law as well as regulate them in the future. For more info see Easyride.

In September 2021, Moia, together with Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and Argo AI, presented plans for autonomous ride pooling. The joint project aims to develop an autonomous, internationally scalable ride pooling system in Hamburg by 2025.

My role:
Service Design, Pricing and Routing Concept, Launch Strategy
Commisioned by:
MOIA GmbH, Volkswagen AG