As we approach the MENA Transport Congress & Exhibition (23-25 April) in Dubai, our programme, panel sessions and list of speakers and participants is rapidly taking shape. Over the next few weeks we will be sitting down with several of our Congress speakers and panellists to get their thoughts on MENA, public transport and the industry going forward.
First up, we’re pleased to bring you some thoughts from Dennis Mica, Business Development from 2getthere in the Netherlands.
This year’s edition of the MENA Transport Congress & Exhibition is based around the theme of Pioneering for Customer Happiness, recognising that customers are at the core of public transport service, how important do you think this theme is for public transport right now?
It has always been important, coming even more into focus now as multiple trends are converging: innovation within public transit concepts (MaaS) and systems (autonomous vehicles), ensuring accessibility while improving the liveability of (smart) cities, all while facing declining transit numbers at the same time. Ensuring customer happiness by integrating new technologies, thus increasing ridership and contributing to both people in transit as well as in cities.
The MENA region is leading the industry in many ways when it comes to revolutionary public transport, particularly Dubai, what do you think the world can learn from the progress the MENA region is making?
Doing instead of (only) thinking and planning. Where autonomous vehicles are being demonstrated in many places, Dubai is in the lead through the Bluewaters Island application where the vehicles will be deployed in a permanent application, without a safety steward on board and assessed/approved according to existing standards. Where other countries take small steps (small demonstrations with two vehicles for a couple of months), Dubai has taken the next step and is moving forward with an actual application (Bluewaters is a permanent application featuring 25 vehicles).
Pioneering for Customer Happiness has always been important, coming even more into focus now as multiple trends are converging…
Would you be able to talk to us about the panel session you are appearing on? What do you hope the audience will take away from the session?
There is a lot of hype about autonomous vehicles, with some companies claiming level five capabilities at a time when level four hasn’t even been proven yet. We are trying to create awareness of what is possible today in light of existing regulations. The focus is on resolving transit issues that are being faced currently and how to build a financially viable business case. At the same time we want to inform the audience what developments are taking place, creating new capabilities in the upcoming years.
And finally, we’d love to hear about 2getthere and your hopes for expansion? What are your 2018 ambitions?
The effort of the company is focused on delivering the Bluewaters project according to the requirements as applicable in Dubai. In addition, 2getthere already has secured a project with mixed traffic requirements (Rivium, the Netherlands), which has to be operational by late 2020. We expect to contract another mixed traffic application during this year.
Thanks to Dennis for taking the time to speak with us!
Stay tuned to the newsroom during April for more from our Congress speakers!