The coming disruption – The rise of mobility as a service and the implications for government

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - demand responsive transit, mode - bus, organisation - competition, organisation - governance, economics - pricing, ridership - behaviour


Land passenger transport, Mobility as a service, MaaS, Ride-sharing, Public transport contracts, Disruption technologies, Competition, Transport policy, Government


Technology and changing consumer behaviour mean governments need to rethink and redefine their role in land passenger transport. New transportation service offerings are emerging from the private sector ― such as ride-sharing, car-sharing and Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS). These services, and the technological platforms underpinning them, have the potential to transform public transportation.

The prospect of competition arising in segments of the land passenger transport market and supply chain is becoming reality. Some ride-sharing providers' business models are evolving to include small on-demand buses that could, and in some cases do, compete against timetabled, fixed route bus services. In addition, MaaS providers could be considered ‘retailers’ who complement and compete with public transport authorities in offering pricing and service bundles to customers.

Competition drives efficiency and innovation; however, history shows that government decisions can easily hinder competition in markets where they have a significant role in planning, delivery and regulation. This paper explores the policy challenges governments will need to address to enable new transport services and service providers to flourish. The paper draws from the author's experiences in other liberalised network industries to explore how government public transport policies and governance will need to evolve to ensure competition flourishes where efficient.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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