The Next Web

Mobility startups and industry watchdogs need each other to succeed

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You can’t go a week these days without reading the word “disruption” in relation to some new piece of tech that says it’s going to change the way we live forever. Many startups in the mobility tech world profess that very Silicon Valley infused mantra of ‘moving fast and breaking stuff’ — but as regulators and industry watchdogs get involved, the disruptors run the risk of becoming the disrupted.

It seems sizeable parts of the mobility space exist either in regulatory gray areas — where they’re subjected to Draconian legislation that inhibits innovation — or are not regulated at all. How mobility tech startups interact with regulators could be one of the defining interactions in deciding what mobility tech proliferates and what is left to languish in the Seine.

To find out how regulations and mobility tech should interact, SHIFT spoke with Verena Löw head of strategy and communication at Germany’s largest public transport authority, the Verkehrsverbund Berlin-Brandenburg (VBB).

Escooters and dawdling regulations

The VBB is a public service, with close ties to the government, which develops and “strategizes public transport services, is responsible for public tenders, and common fares and ticketing.” It also runs public information systems about transport services and distributes revenue among the actual operators that drive the buses and trains in the region.

Credit: VBB