Karhoo Powers the New “My Driver by Thalys” Service
Thalys passengers can now choose between about 50 taxi fleets to complete their rail journeys in every of the four countries operated by the high speed Thalys trains.
11th January 2020. London, U.K. – Karhoo, the open mobility exchange platform, has been selected by high-speed train operator, Thalys, to power its new first-and-last mile travel service: “My Driver by Thalys”. The Karhoo marketplace is seamlessly embedded into Thalys’ new service, which can be accessed through the Thalys app and website, allowing passengers to pre-book rides from a range of local and national taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) fleets.
Thalys services about 7.85 million passengers every year, connecting 26 stations across France, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. By integrating Karhoo’s mobility exchange into its new taxi booking service, every Thalys passenger will be able to compare and order rides from about 50 taxi and PHV fleets. Customers can pre-book their transport to and from the station when purchasing train tickets, or even while travelling up to 45 minutes in advance, creating a more immersive customer experience.
“We are always looking for new ways to deliver a better service to our customers. Offering travel to and from the station to simplify our passenger’s door-to-door journeys felt like a natural extension of our customer relationships. However, customer expectations around e-hailing and mobility have risen so high that we knew if we wanted to compete, we needed to get the digital user experience just right,” explains Bruno Dierickx, Marketing & Commercial Director at Thalys. “Karhoo is the engine that runs our new My Driver by Thalys service. It enables us to offer greater choice and flexibility to our customers in each of our four countries while delivering the first-class digital experience that users today are so used to. Karhoo’s brandable booker portal coupled with the instant access to an extensive network of vehicles meant a lot of the hard work was done for us.”
Thalys is not the only rail operator looking to capitalise on the mobility market opportunity. “Innovative rail operators are setting their sights on mobility to increase the stickiness of their offerings, while introducing new revenue streams; so Thalys is not alone,” comments Caroline Simmerman, Karhoo’s VP of Business Development – Travel Operators. “Last year we helped SNCF Mobilités to launch its “Mon Chauffeur” service – which has already seen significant use. We also helped Renfe in Spain to launch its new mobile app, ‘Renfe as a Service’ (RaaS). So this is certainly a trend we expect to see grow and mature in the year ahead as train operators seek to expand their relevance to passengers.”
Karhoo brings licensed fleets around the world together with global travel operators and local authorities to create smarter mobility solutions for travellers and citizens. Its platform provides simple integration options (API/SDK/whitelabel) allowing partners to natively offer e-hailing and pre-booking into their applications and online channels. Karhoo is backed by Groupe Renault as part of their mobility- as-an-industry initiative and has built a network of over 1.8 million vehicles worldwide.
For over 20 years, Thalys has been committed to bringing cultures and economies of the four European countries in its network (Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands) closer together. In 2017, Thalys reached the important milestone of more than 7 million annual passengers.
At high speed, it takes only 1h22 to reach Paris from Brussels aboard the red trains, 1h47 to travel to Cologne and 1h50 to travel to Amsterdam. A pioneer of on-board WiFi since 2008, Thalys has distinguished itself since the beginning by offering an exceptional service: multilingual welcome, ergonomic comfort and quality catering.
Since December 2017, Thalys offers a choice between three service levels. Prices in the “Standard” category start from 19€ (Belgium to Germany) and 29€ (to France and to the Netherlands). “Comfort” offers a first class environment, while “Premium” offers passengers the full Thalys service experience, including at-seat meal service.
With the green Izy trains, Thalys also offers a low-cost alternative between Brussels and Paris, with a slightly longer travel time of 2h15 at a 30% cheaper rate. Thalys has been a full-function railway company since 2015, with SNCF and SNCB as shareholders.
Today Karhoo are happy to announce that they’ve made the first steps in this journey towards full open source access products.
The next wave of digitisation does not require to establish your own online service. It’s about allowing automated brokering on your website and enjoying passive revenues. This way, any online business can now offer chauffer services without owning a vehicle!
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