Germany has an established culture of formal ride-sharing, or “mitfahrgelegenheit”, so its not surprising that along with the growth in start-ups there are many new companies focusing on the transportation sector. Some even argue that the space is getting crowded.
A particular focus is on shuttle style services. In 2016, the Danish start-up Spiri announced plans to launch in Berlin, joining five active ridesharing services. Spiri is different from most ridesharing services, however, as they plan to design their own electric vehicles.
Volkswagen’s new subsidiary, Moia, plans to do something similar: This year they will offer users rides in their specially-designed mini buses.
Local competition includes Allygator Shuttle, a venture belonging to the Berlin-based start-up Door2Door. The service, which launched in 2016, has a fleet of 20 that only runs on weekends and serves a small subset of the Berlin population. The model tries to position itself between public transport, one the one hand, and taxi services, on the other hand. Allygator is hoping that its software will somehow be incorporated into Berlin’s public transportation service, the Berliner Verkehrsbetrieb (BVG), rather than replace it.
Also fighting for space on Berlin’s street is Berlin Shuttle, which was launched in 2013, and CleverShuttle, founded in 2014. CleverShuttle, which is active in Munich and Leipzig, recently announced plans to expand operating times and areas to Frankfurt and Hamburg in 2017. CleverShuttle note that their vehicles are CO2 neutral, running on 100 per cent renewable energy.
Slightly different from the aforementioned shuttles is Wunder, a 2013 Hamburg-based start-up, that matches users with empty seats in non-professional drivers’ cars. Flinc, established in 2008, is another start-up that pairs drivers with people needing rides.
Interestingly, there are also a number of up-and-coming taxi start-ups emerging, such as: Blacklane, MyTaxi, Taxilo.