A time traveller’s tale from 2022

Picture the scene… today is the November 17, 2022. It’s 6.50am and Kate (our fictional future self) is fast asleep, dreaming of a leisurely stroll along a Caribbean beach.

Her sunny island vision is shattered as the alarm wakens her to a rainy-day commute in London. Bad weather is not all bad news though. The downpour means an extra ten minutes’ snooze, thanks to Kate’s smartphone mobility butler who, knowing she would forgo a soaking bike-ride to the station, ordered a car-pooling service for her instead.

With no honking car horns and plenty of fresh air, the city centre can be so pleasant, freed from congestion and pollution

With no physical entry barriers any more at the station, access is a breeze and Kate sails through to the platform, where the train is on time. Her phone connects automatically to on-board wi-fi and she starts checking e-mail. The ticketless transfer from train to tube is just as smooth.

Coming up from the Underground, Kate enjoys her short walk to the office, despite the rain. With no honking car horns and plenty of fresh air, the city centre can be so pleasant, freed from congestion and pollution.

After a busy morning preparing for an important client briefing that afternoon, Kate decides to grab lunch at her favourite bistro with her boyfriend. With the skies now clear, her smartphone suggests a nearby bike-sharing station, and her calendars sync meeting venue details and timings.

Lunch was great, but her phone now tells her she has to leave if she wants to take the car and be on time. There is a lot of traffic on the motorway and road tolls are soaring. Kate can extend her lunch for another 20 minutes, though, if she takes the train and a shared car for the last mile.

On arrival at the station, she puts the meeting address into the car dashboard, turns up the music and starts driving. On route, her car reduces speed dramatically just as she approaches a crossroads. That was a close call with an ambulance coming unseen and at speed from the left – accident prevented.

Kate resumes her journey at the speed indicated on the dashboard. She doesn’t have to change gear, as all traffic lights are green on approach. As she reaches her destination, the blue “P” on her dashboard starts blinking. She taps it and is navigated to the closest parking spot. She lifts her hands off the wheel and the car parks itself. Right on time.

The meeting went really well. Her clients will be signing an extension of the contract – time to celebrate. She drives her shared car directly to the pub where friends are waiting. Since she has enjoyed more than a glass or two, Kate’s phone recommends the green bus home, safe and sound.

Once again, the decision of Kate’s employer to move from company cars to the Greater London XXL MaaS package has paid off. Kate’s journey, if she had purchased services individually from different transport providers, would have cost £350. And the time she saves by using MaaS? Priceless.