Quality of life in big cities and busy business districts is an increasing problem in the world today. Populations are growing and more and more professionals commute by car, which in turn leads to more emissions. These are all reasons to raise people’s awareness of shared mobility. Simone van de Koppel, Hub Manager at Next Urban Mobility, explains how she helps do just that.
Sustainable commuting and travel
Next Urban Mobility is a Pon start-up that was set up to pioneer new mobility. That new mobility solutions are needed goes without saying, as current developments around us will ultimately make it infeasible for every single household to have its own car. To give you an example: in new-build projects, developers are only allowed to build 0.2 parking space per household. These are projects in busy inner-city areas, for example. This means we need to rethink how we use vehicles. Sharing is the solution.
We are on the right track. We currently have 2 business hubs up and running, one in Utrecht and one in Amsterdam. At some point this year, we will also be opening our first residents’ hub in Amsterdam. Ours is a project that revolves around sustainability, and a hub with shared electric vehicles ties in with that perfectly. At such a hub, we make cars, (cargo) bicycles, and scooters available, all electrically powered, of course. Our app (Huub) lets users book these vehicles and unlock them with a mere swipe. Our users have already indicated that they are experiencing this as something magical. Users are charged by the hour or based on a subscription. To use instead of to own is, in my opinion, the future and the way to preserve quality of life in urban areas.”
At Next Urban Mobility, we are initially focusing on the Randstad area because it’s the Netherlands’ busiest region. The need for hubs is greater there. Although we have only started relatively recently, we have already gotten a lot done. Making travel and transportation easier for everyone is our basic aim. By the end of the year, we hope to have several dozen hubs up and running. Both small hubs with a few scooters and bicycles and larger projects with over 100 e-cars.
Our drive to grow the number of hubs and get greater diversity in our user groups means that I, as the hub manager, have quite a lot of work on my plate. On the one hand, mine is a fairly operational role where I literally provide support to users, such as when someone has trouble unlocking a door. And on the other hand, it is also my job to monitor the performance of the hubs. How often are our services used? Do the types of vehicle on offer still match users’ preferences? I get a lot of information out of how our customers use the app, giving me insights into what we are doing well and where we need to make adjustments.
Traineeship as the basis
In early 2017, I started my Management Traineeship at Pon and it showed me a lot of different things in a very short time span. It ultimately brought me where I am today and where I work now. From meetings with the board of Volkswagen to working together with engineers repairing excavators. The traineeship has also introduced me to the American work culture. Pon sent me to work at Gazelle USA in Santa Cruz, CA, for six months, where I saw how positive people are in their approach. I really liked that positive mindset. Putting customers first and just going for it with everything you’ve got. That’s also what I’m doing at Next Urban Mobility now. We firmly believe that it will be entirely commonplace in the near future for people to use a car for two hours and then return it to a hub. It’s the future of mobility!
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