Future of transit will be multi-modal, on-demand, shared, technology & data-driven: Kristoffer vik Hansen, CEO, SPARE LABS

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Kristoffer vik Hansen, CEO, SPARE LABS talks about the future of Mobility and how his company SPARE LABS is making the difference

What is SPARE and how does it work?

Spare is a Canadian company that specializes in the future of mobility by creating the next wave of transit software. It’s utilized through a technological platform that enables cities and transportation operators to plan, launch, operate, and analyze integrated on-demand and fixed-route transit networks.

Spare provides the technologies to run pooled, on-demand transit with plenty of room for flexibility. The deployment options are multi-faceted:

  • A transit provider could deploy their own dedicated vehicles/fleets and drivers to run an on-demand service.
  • A mixed supply model can also be used so that they can also leverage non-dedicated vehicles/ fleets and drivers, like local taxis, or from the neighbouring operator.


Spare’s platform is also customizable by the transit agencies and is designed for a variety of use cases including microtransit, first-mile/last-mile, rural transportation, paratransit, non-emergency medical transportation, taxi and more! So, the riders are multi-faceted, too, and would benefit from different modes of transportation (i.e. microtransit for a general transit rider, specialized transportation for an elderly rider, paratransit for those with special needs, non-medical emergency transportation, or NEMT, for riders with recurrent medical appointments, employee commuting for workers that need to get to a big factory or corporate campus, and school and university campus transportation for students).

Ultimately, our goal is to help transform how communities move by powering profitable transport using the most advanced transport software platform.

Who is your target market i.e. public transit, taxi operators with a fleet, or Individuals?

Currently, we primarily work with public transit agencies, transit operators, and taxi operators. We also work on a smaller scale with autonomous driving players, municipalities, universities, and mass aggregators/ride-hailing platforms.

However, our target market is primarily public transit agencies. One of the capabilities of Spare’s platform is the ability to connect public transit agencies with a potentially wider net of other providers, including taxi operators and other fleets – all of whom can have access to the Spare platform as well. This helps optimize the transit system, provides the best quality of service at the lowest cost, and enables a transit agency to provide mobility options to their customers. In Dallas, for example, we are successfully doing this in partnership with their public transit system – DART – through the city’s GoPass.

Where are you looking to launch your operations?

We currently have customers in Canada, USA, the Nordics (Norway, Sweden, etc.), Spain, and Japan. We are currently focusing our efforts on expansion throughout North American (both in Canada and the USA), Europe (mainly Germany, Spain, UK, and the Nordics), Japan, and Oceania (mainly Australia and New Zealand). Eventually, we will look to take our operations completely global and look for ways to integrate Spare in markets all around the world.

What do you think is the future of transit?

We believe that the future of transit will be multi-modal, on-demand, shared, and technology- and data-driven. More importantly, it will be simple and easily available through a single app that provides transparency on best route options. We know that technology is the key to enabling efficiency when it comes to transit, to do things like facilitate public and private cooperation and ensure widespread availability of shared vehicles that are cost-efficient. All these factors are essential to enabling profitable transportation and the future of transit as a whole.

Additionally, our mission is to accelerate the shift to efficient and autonomous mobility and we see this through the following four phases for the future of transit:

1. Widespread availability of shared and on-demand mobility

2. Availability of profitable, shared, on-demand mobility

3. Commoditizing on-demand personal and shared mobility

4. Redefining “delivery” through the widespread adoption of autonomous vehicles

What is the difference between you and a white label “uber” like app developer?

Through Spare, we are redefining public transit – not building another ridesharing service or app. We see the role of public transit agencies changing and evolving away from the traditional and siloed modes of fixed-route transit (such as busses and trains), and moving toward becoming providers of integrated mobility, so that they can offer their own ridesharing/-pooling service.

Spare enables this multi-modal approach by providing transit agencies with an open platform that connects the traditional modes of transportation with modern modes like on-demand shared mobility. We enable this from the planning stage (Spare Realize), all the way through to the execution (Spare Launch) and analytics (Spare Analyze). Our focus is on developing pooled, on-demand microtransit in its various use cases and efficient public transit operations. It’s an approach that allows us to have the highest rate of innovation in the market, cutting-edge and all-encompassing technology, and the most competitive product.

What does SPARE need to expand its operations across different geographies? Any particular challenges or hurdles?

Right now, our main challenge has been educating the public transit market about Spare, our on-demand microtransit platform and its benefits, as well as our unique solution to mass transit problems. With COVID-19 and the challenging recovery process that is already beginning to take place due to its negative impacts, transit agencies are under particular stress and may purely have to focus on solidifying their bottom line. We, however, argue that this can be a great opportunity to re-think how a community moves and ultimately a chance to re-design the transit network that supports them in moving around.

The current pandemic has had many limiting restrictions and effects on public transport. In some places, like communities across Canada, for example, demand for transit dropped 83% in late March compared to the same period last year. Our on-demand microtransit technology has the ability to turn this crisis into an opportunity for transit agencies that are taking a hit in ridership. By launching pandemic-ready transit, that essentially scales down mass transit by scaling up on microtransit, transit providers can still operate with the knowledge that they are prioritizing the safety of their passengers and employees while maintaining their bottom line. We have already seen communities around the world successfully utilize Spare’s platform in response to COVID-19 implications, including in Palma, Spain and Denton County, Texas.

 

SPARE LABS is based out of Vancouver, Canada. For more information kindly log on: https://sparelabs.com

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This story is written and edited by  Yugbodh, for The Onside Media, Canada, If you have stories to share kindly email: – info@theonside.com