The Business category in the Press Section of the eCabs website

Here one can find informative and interesting articles which the tech mobility company publishes from time to time.

Please click on the photo above each item to access the original article.

eCabs e-scooters

“E-scooters are part of the mobility future of this country”

By Matthew Bezzina, eCabs CEO

E-scooters are part of the mobility future of Malta and their role is set to become even bigger.

Some may think that e-scooters are a competitor to the cab industry. Unfortunately this is a typical myopic perspective advocated by those who believe in protectionism rather than the dynamics of an open and modern economy.

Our mission has always been to provide an alternative, sustainable and effective means of transport other than the private car. The private car is increasingly becoming a heavy and expensive burden on our infrastructure.

The average person makes around 3.3 trips a day. A good percentage of these trips are done using a private car. Which 95% of the time is lying idle and parked but still occupying space on the roads for free. In today’s terms this translates to prime space that comes at a high premium.

If only one considers the opportunity cost of time and space, it is already enough reason to understand that a private car equates to a lot of missed opportunities.

Therefore, it goes without saying that as a company committed to promoting alternative mobility means other than private cars, we’re four-square behind the widespread use of e-scooters.

It is commendable that the authority has acted fast to regulate the use of e-scooters. And not to allow the law of the jungle to prevail in such a sensitive domain. A modern country deserves a responsive regulatory environment and certainly doesn’t afford gaps which could jeopardise the safety of drivers and the public.

Proper enforcement of E-scooters in Malta is key

The first issue that we need to consider is that of risk. Space in Malta is limited. Our road network is one of the densest networks in the world. Most streets are narrow, and two thirds of these streets are taken by the road. Not to mention that a large portion is taken by parking spaces for idle cars. And the very little remaining space has to be shared between pedestrians, bicycles and now e-scooters. This limited space that has to be shared means increased risk for all road users.

The only way to manage this risk is through proper enforcement and this is why the proposed regulation is a step in the right direction towards ensuring that the service can grow in a sustainable way.

Finally, it is in everyone’s interest that e-scooters in Malta operate safely and without endangering other road users. The authorities need to make sure that the right legislation is in place so that all stakeholders are protected. Only proper and responsible monitoring can contribute towards the service to grow organically.

If we just consider accessibility, the use of an e-scooter makes it an ideal fit to any multi-modal pattern of commuting. Someone on an e-scooter can easily ride a bus, board a ferry and yes why not, even call an eCab and travel with his e-scooter. We will go the extra-mile to send e-scooter riders a cab that makes the commute with their e-scooter an easier and more fulfilling experience!

E-scooters have an important role to play in Malta. And as the ongoing quest for better and more efficient mobility continues, their role is set to become even bigger

eCabs transport

The real value of transport

By Matthew Bezzina, eCabs CEO

Given that the use of cars is so accessible, our idea of the true value and cost of transport is skewed.

Our society is driven by a lifestyle where cars are protagonists. We instil the idea in our children that, as soon as they turn 18, they have to get their driving licence. And own their car.

The car has become a must and is now an intrinsic part of the social fabric. But we have reached the extreme where owning a car is not just an expense for its owner. It also carries a cost on the infrastructure and, as we are lately also finding out, on our health.

Every morning, many of us walk to our car, start the engine and drive to work. And then, after a day’s work, we take the car back home. If you stop to think about it, you would realise that many of such people’s cars are lying idle for 95 percent of the time.

Yet, they are still paying for fuel, road tax and insurance, not to mention maintenance costs.

Changing patterns

From an infrastructure point of view, the reality is that, nowadays, no matter the location, vehicles are constantly occupying space on the roads for free. Prime space which, in today’s terms, is an asset that comes at a high premium.

In reality, we will never know the real value of transport until we are forced to radically change the patterns of how we commute. A change so drastic it will bring a whole upheaval in our personal lifestyles. How we plan our days, where we spend most of our time and how we interact with family and friends.

Unfortunately, for this to happen, those in government will need to make difficult decisions.

Even more unfortunate, however, is Malta’s current political environment where society is based on a bi-party system.

This could possibly be the main reason why a long-term vision for transport, if there ever was one, can and will never be put into action for fear of losing precious votes.

“Our idea of the true value and cost of transport is skewed”

People are comfortable and upsetting this feel-good factor will have adverse effects on popularity ratings. We have grown accustomed for far too long to free parking and free congestion zones. Which are becoming even more congested.

We use our car every day and at any time. Cars have become the be-all-and-end-all. And, without serious political will and consensus, a long-term plan that can start redressing the situation will never be possible.

Given that the use of cars is so accessible, our idea of the true value and cost of transport is, therefore, skewed. If people experienced the real cost, many would become sensitised to the extent that they would start adjusting their driving patterns.

The point of departure would be quantifying the real value of transport by looking at the two main variables of space and time.

Alternative modes of transport

Space in terms of all the vehicles occupying space on the roads. And time as in what period of the day and for how long they are used. Optimising these two variables and assessing the opportunities available is key to a solid start in addressing our transport problems on a national scale.

Truth be told, there are many people who have started to opt for alternative modes of transport.

The ferry service in the harbour area and the Sliema to Valletta route are already ingrained in our daily lifestyles.

There is increased use of more reliable cab services. And many are those who are reverting to the use of bicycles or scooters.

The Barrakka lift could be free of charge to incentivise those entering Valletta using such clean modes of transport. The infrastructure catering for these alternative means cannot be compromised but made more enabling.

No problem comes without a solution. Those who are empowered to make decisions have enough power to also decide on issues that could be a bit difficult but that, in the long run, would start addressing a problem that is close to saturation point.

Eventually, a situation will be reached where there will be continuity, irrespective of the party in government. That will be the day when traffic will stop being a political football.

In the press:

The Times of Malta