Will we be able to rescue some of our achievements?
The first eight countries have announced that they are now officially COVID19-free. No new cases and more importantly, no more active cases. Whereas other regions in the world are still in the heat of the battle others are just at the beginning. I have attended a good number of webinars and am following leading thinkers in the automotive sector. People discussed and argued how the new normal will look like, what will change and what impact it will have on the global economy and our lives. In the last three months, it seemed to have been nothing else in the news but updates on the coronavirus. Now it seems that we have had enough of this subject, trying to wrap it up as fast as we can and moving on to the next subject.
Last week I had a call with a tech supplier in Boston. He couldn’t get over with the fact that in the last three months the world turned upside down – but now nobody is talking about this anymore as they are watching the US splitting up more and more into different ideological groups. Millions lost their jobs; countless businesses went bankrupt and politicians are in search of funding to support their country. But this makes it barely into the news anymore. We have moved on to the next bigger subject.
It is interesting to see that some countries and companies have taken the opportunity to update their old systems, strengthen core contributors and establish new routines. Others seem to be just very keen to get as quick as possible back to the status quo we had before the pandemic. Of course, governments have to do everything they can to kick-start the economy – but is it the right way by suggesting that people should return to work, instead of facilitating teleworking? Why would a country lower petrol prices instead of offering funds for alternative mobility solutions? When jumpstarting the economy, we should not feed the other, even bigger crisis, the climate catastrophe, says rightfully Sampo Hietanen, CEO and Founder of MaaS Global. “Could we combine helicopter money (simply giving folks extra cash to spend) with investing for the future?”
Many argue that the private car is a safer space and therefore its use should be encouraged. But mobility service providers have not been sitting idle for the last couple of months. “Many countries around the world are moving to a new phase of recovery,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said during a press call on Wednesday. “We’ve built a new product experience for a new normal.” Contact-tracing through mobility apps is easy. Even Ride-pooling is back, and it’s safer than ever. Cool.mt has installed protective shields in all of its vehicles to isolate each individual seat, ensuring safety for passengers and drivers, while limiting the maximum number of riders per car.
Let’s not try to force us back into the original status quo. In the last months, certain things have been proven to work just fine. So why going back to things which were not great in the first place, such as being a commuter stuck in traffic every morning? Even though Corona slowly starts to vanish from the top headline in the news, things have changed. And if there is a next wave hitting us, mobility providers are prepared. And we should be prepared to embrace technology which facilitates our daily lives.< Back