Interview with Michaël Xhonneux, Sales & Marketing Director of Europcar Mobility Group Belgium
What is the current state of affairs?
For years, the car has reigned supreme, determining road spaces and road infrastructure. Today, attitudes are changing and citizens and public authorities alike want to promote multi-modal transport of people and goods.
Indeed, ‘mobility’ or ‘lack of mobility’ concerns everyone. According to Bruxelles Environnement, there are an average of more than 370,000 cars on the capital’s roads every day, with most of those travelling between home and work, and 62% of them covering distances of less than 5 km!
Congestion, air and noise pollution, negative effects on human health (such as stress, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, etc.) and on the productivity of businesses… the impact is huge.
How do you envisage future mobility? Without cars?
Given that each car is only used 4% of the time, it is easy to see the advantage of the alternative solutions that are being developed in the world’s capitals.
Many journeys could be done on public transport, in shared cars or shared scooters, by bicycle or even on foot!
Digitalisation, which has been much criticised, is a boon in this case, supporting on-demand transport with connectivity.
Since the launch of Cambio in Brussels in 2003, new players in the mobility sector have emerged. All offer the possibility of quickly finding, within walking distance, a car that can be rented for a few minutes or a few hours. Ubeeqo, which is part of the Europcar Mobility Group, offers shared, station-based vehicles. In Brussels, there are more than 100 cars available at over 60 stations.
Shared bicycles have also been available in Brussels for a number of years and, since 2016, we have offered Scooty, the first free-floating, shared electric scooter service in Brussels and Antwerp, with a fleet of nearly 400 scooters available around the clock.
Mobility = multi-modality?
Our business sector is undergoing major change and the Europcar Mobility Group is now a global provider of mobility solutions: traditional short-term rentals, shared cars, shared scooters and even a multi-modal pass. The Europcar Mobility Pass (in partnership with Modalizy) gives direct access to mobility services available throughout Belgium (STIB, SNCB, De Lijn, Tec, Thalys), including taxis, car parks, bicycle rental services, car sharing, chauffeured car hire services and even shared office space. All costs can be paid using this all-in-one card and invoiced to the business at the end of the month.
We are also forging partnerships with different players in the mobility sector, continuously expanding our array of solutions: E-Twow electric scooters in partnership with Electroad and Troty; and Hytchers, which offers a collaborative system for parcel deliveries.
Attitudes are gradually changing. Through a combination of all these initiatives, Brussels and other European capitals will become breathable.