Scaling Berlin: We Won the Jelbi Tender

We have big news to share: we won the Jelbi tender! Berlin’s public transport authority Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG) selected us out of 10+ competitors to power and scale their platform.

With around 45,000 vehicles integrated into the platform, and being used by approximately 8% of the city’s population, Jelbi was the first and is now the largest multimodal Mobility-as-a-Service platform in the world.

Trafi x Jelbi: A Strong Partnership

Those of you who follow us online might already associate Trafi with Jelbi. (Maybe you’ve checked out our webpage or read our case study.) We built the Jelbi platform 2.5 years ago, and we’ve been developing and maintaining it in close collaboration with BVG and the Jelbi team ever since.

We were originally approached by BVG in 2019 and asked if we were interested in building a new MaaS platform that would connect the city’s growing number of private mobility services with local public transport services and a journey planner. Naturally, we said yes, and with BVG’s help, we built the platform and launched it a few months later.

Since launch day, Jelbi has expanded to include a wide variety of mobility modes, along with Jelbi “stations”, which are vehicle and service hubs located near high-foot-traffic areas throughout Berlin. (The Jelbi stations are very popular with Berliners.)

In addition to all public transit, the platform has integrated around 45,000 vehicles, including bikes, scooters and mopeds. We’re also proud to say that the App Store rating for Jelbi has never gone below 4.0, and currently has a rating of 4.7, the highest of any available MaaS platform.

How We Won the Jelbi Tender

Even though we were selected for the initial building of Jelbi, we knew from day one that we would be up against many other industry players when it came time to officially compete for the Jelbi tender. After going through a competitive process, we’re pleased to have been selected to continue with the project.

“We’re proud to continue our mission of decarbonizing mobility and encouraging the shift to sustainable transport. Now that we’ve been selected to scale up the Jelbi platform to a never-before-seen size and level of complexity for MaaS, it paves the way for similar initiatives in the future.”

Martynas Gudonavičius, CEO of Trafi

The selection criteria were varied, but we were chosen mostly for our user-friendly and practical app design, our previous experience with city tenders, and our uniquely deep integrations.

Our mission is to create solutions that can help the world move towards sustainable mobility and away from carbonized private transport. Now, as we look to scale the world’s largest MaaS platform in Berlin, we’ll stick to what we know best: building flexible, accessible mobility products that people love to use.

Check out the official Jelbi website or learn how we help cities build and maintain their own mobility platforms.

How mobility hubs increase MaaS usability

The final part of a commute or journey is often the trickiest for travelers. Whilst a mainline train or metro service might get them into the city, getting to that station from their homes in the first place can prove difficult enough that they simply opt to drive instead.

Even in the city, with access to more public services and shared micro-mobility options, it’s not a seamless experience. Whilst travelers may easily start a trip on a public bike or e-scooter, ending it can involve having to go out of the way to find a designated parking bay. Though some cities allow ‘free roaming’ where scooters and bikes can be parked anywhere, this risks leading to eyesores and public nuisances with sidewalks cluttered and paths blocked.

To overcome the challenge of convenience, better enable the last part of travelers’ journeys, and increase the appeal of shared mobility in the process, cities are turning to a new, innovative solution: mobility hubs, such as those that BVG has opened up in Berlin and integrated into their Jelbi app

A menu of mobility

Placed at designated points on streets and near major transit stations, mobility hubs bring together a selection of shared mobility options in one place. Depending on the size of the hub, these can feature anything from some scooters and bikes right through to larger shared mobility options like mopeds, cars, or vans. With convenient access to this menu of mobility, travelers can more easily find what they need and quickly switch between transport options.

An added benefit of mobility hubs is their highly visible presence in public spaces. They’re usually situated close to stations or placed in strategic spots along the street. In reclaiming space from private car use, cities can present shared mobility as a new, viable alternative travel option.

But their appeal doesn’t stop there. Advanced mobility hubs have other beneficial features such as covered communal rest areas, charging points, and informational points (e.g. digital screens with real-time public transportation information).

Powering a mobility hub-filled future

A Jelbi Station in Berlin set next to a bus stop offers easy access to e-scooters, e-bikes, e-moped, cars, and even vans. ©BVG

In Berlin, BVG is leading the charge on mobility hubs having successfully deployed several hubs across the city, near to S-Bahn and subway stations. Integrated into their award-winning Jelbi App (powered by Trafi), the mobility hubs come in two varieties: Jelbi Stations are larger mobility hubs that include cars and vans, and smaller ‘Jelbi Points’ offer access to micro-mobility options.

Since mobility hubs exist to bring shared mobility services together, integrating different mobility offerings is key to success. It’s not enough to just have the options available in one place. Even with a selection of mobility options available, a mobility hub’s appeal is limited if a different app and account are needed for each mobility option. Giving travelers an option that doesn’t involve time-consuming app-hopping is a much better alternative that encourages the use of MaaS.

The world’s leading mobility-as-a-service solution

The Trafi MaaS Suite powers mobility within major cities around the world. Boasting the largest network of deep integrations with mobility service providers, we make it effortless for users to switch between mobility options with just one app. 

Our users can find, book, travel with and pay for all the services in their city with just one app. At the tap of a smartphone screen, they can view real-time transit information, unlock vehicles, buy tickets and customize their travel experience. Fully white-labeled, our solution can be tailored with your company’s brand details like logos and colors, making it truly a part of your existing transit network for users.

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MaaS Tender Tip #2: Incentivize your users

MaaS is still a fairly new concept. As such, lots of people living in your city might need to be incentivized to use your new platform. There are a couple of different ways to do so, such as bundles and subscriptions, vouchers, discounts, and promotions. No matter how you choose to incentivize your users, all methods should be explicitly mentioned in your tender. 

Below, we’ve highlighted three ways to incentivize your users to try out (and, hopefully in the long run, really use) your mobility platform. 

Incentive #1: Bundles and subscriptions

“Bundles”, a term often used interchangeably with subscriptions, have been proven to increase MaaS adoption and encourage people to leave their private vehicles at home. By offering a flat rate for paying for a combination of preferred mobility options – the alternative would be the classic “pay-as-you-go” method – users are encouraged to try out new mobility modes and tailor their travel experience to their liking, which is what Mobility-as-a-Service is really all about. The customization and flexibility that comes with subscriptions is a huge bonus for new users. Who wouldn’t want to be able to ride a bus, rent a bike or hail a taxi all in one day without having to pay for three individual services? 

Incentive #2: Vouchers

The tried-and-true voucher method is one of the simplest and most effective ways of encouraging the use of shared and new mobility services. Digital vouchers that can be redeemed with the swipe of a smartphone screen not only users money, they also enhance the digital user experience and add a dash of gamification to your mobility platform. 

Incentive #3: Discounts and promotions

Closely related to vouchers and basically operating on the same principle, discounts on individual rides (or with specific MSPs) are obvious ways of convincing your users to take advantage of shared mobility services. They’re so popular, in fact, that they’re sometimes used to drum up renewed interest in existing public transportation networks. You might want to discuss options with your individual MSPs once you have them onboard, as they have existing marketing and promotion teams in place who would no doubt have ideas on how to create and implement a successful promotional campaign. (They offer similar incentives to their users quite frequently.)

The three incentives above have been proven to encourage MaaS adoption in multiple cities across the globe. How, when and if you’ll use them is up to you; every city has different needs, after all. In any event, it’s important to discuss these adoption tactics and include these incentives in your MaaS tender.

Stay tuned to our blog and social channels as we share more on our MaaS tender tip series in the weeks to come!

For more information on how we help cities launch and grow mobility networks, get in touch or check out our webpage.

MaaS Tender Tip #1

MaaS Tender Tip #1: Clearly define the roles of your stakeholders

If you work for a city and you’re interested in launching a new MaaS network, there are many different things to consider before you start sending out requests for tenders, such as: 

What types of MaaS solutions are out there? How can you transform a mobility-as-a-service network from a theoretical project into a tangible, product-based service that people actually want to use? Which stakeholders should be included in your MaaS networks, and what roles should they be allowed to play?  

Before your tender is written, the proverbial floodgates have been opened and the bids start pouring in, it’s helpful to have a clear answer to the above questions. We’ve tapped into our expert network and asked our experienced team to compile a list of essential tips for cities looking to launch their own private-public MaaS network. Without further ado, here’s MaaS tender tip #1.

MaaS Tender Tip #1: Clearly define the roles of your stakeholders

The stakeholders in any MaaS network can be divided into four main groups, with few exceptions: you (the city), your tech or software provider, MSPs, and third parties. 

The City

Cities are the backbone of MaaS systems. The role of the city is to own and oversee the entire MaaS platform; you’re the one who had the idea of simplifying and streamlining your mobility system to provide a valuable service to your citizens, after all. 

Cities should manage: 

  • Data. Cities should own all the data generated by a MaaS platform. This lets cities keep the responsibility of improving and enhancing the mobility network, assuring equitable MaaS growth, and making smart, data-informed decisions. 
  • Contractual relationships. You’re the unbiased project managers helping to organize this MaaS network; contracts should lie within your realm of responsibility.
  • Physical infrastructure. You have it, maintain it, expand upon it as necessary and own this topic. This includes the building of new mobility hubs and universal charging stations.
  • End user (people!) relationships. Who understands the people living in a city better than the city itself? The city is best positioned to manage promotions, advertising and user implementation and acquisition strategies. 

The Tech Provider

Some cities like to try and build their own tech team in-house. Their attempts are often unsuccessful. That’s for the simple reason that while they’re working on so many other aspects of building a MaaS platform, cities don’t have the time and resources to develop a capable tech team. That’s where your MaaS tech/software provider should step up and assist you. 

  • Platform setup and configuration. It’s your provider’s job to create flexible, modular platform architecture that can handle any integration. They should build a white-label app and brand it with your city’s logos and colors – your users need a seamless, stylish app to engage with your mobility platform. 
  • Journey and route planning. Tech providers should offer a multimodal routing engine tailored to the city’s specific needs. This also includes real-time journey planning that offers optimal routes according to traffic conditions and other factors, including maps.
  • Back office management. Cities obviously want to measure the success of their mobility platforms, and to do that, they need the help of strong back office tools that can handle customer service requests, provide solid analytics, and deal with fraud detection and GDPR rules. 
  • Testing, training and maintenance. One of your tech provider’s most vital tasks is managing platform operations. That means everything from testing the platform pre-launch, to training team members on how to use the platform, to fixing bugs and maintaining the platform long after your users are cruising around town on it. 

The MSPs

MSPs, aka mobility service providers, are the kick scooters, shared cars, taxis, bicycles and any other shareable, privately owned vehicles that want to be integrated onto your platform. These companies should manage:

  • Technical integration. MSPs are responsible for a smooth integration and opening their APIs.  
  • Commercial terms. MSPs should be willing to integrate deeply into your platform, meaning their services should be bookable and payable through your new app.
  • Operations, maintenance and branding. MSPs manage the locations and upkeep of their vehicles and of course continue to promote and maintain their own brand reputation.

Other Third Parties

Last but most certainly not least, other “third parties” are crucial components of any MaaS platform. They have their own highly specific topics to focus on:  

  • Single-sign on (SSO) functions. This authentication service provides a seamless, easy login process.
  • Payment service providers. PSPs enable payment structures across all vehicle and mobility types, from purchasing bus tickets to paying for scooter rides. 
  • Ticketing providers. No ticketing providers, no in-app digital tickets for your users!
  • Document/ID verification. To validate driver’s licenses for car and moped sharing or rentals, you’ll need to integrate a dedicated document verification service into your platform. 

    That’s it – the four main categories of stakeholders and their uniquely important roles have been clearly defined. That’s a great first step towards writing an excellent MaaS tender.

    Stay tuned to our blog and social channels as we share more on our MaaS tender tip series in the weeks to come. (Next up: defining your mobility offering!)

    For more information on how we help cities launch and grow mobility networks, get in touch or check out our webpage.