Volkswagen subsidiary Moia starts in Hamburg

Volkswagen subsidiary Moia: So the start in Hamburg

With its new car service Moia wants automaker Volkswagen the urban mobility turn it upside down. Hosts of people should abolish their cars and instead let themselves be driven through the city with VW's futuristic electric busses. Since Monday, 100 of the Moia shuttles roll through Hamburg. A network of 10,000 virtual stops pervades the Hanseatic city, to each of them one can order the service by App.

We test if the car service stops, what VW promises, One day it goes with the Moia shuttle through Hamburg. Picking up the child from kindergarten, eating ice cream in the city center, doing the shopping, and picking up the relatives from the airport – is this all as comfortable as with your own car?

10:45: I download the Moia app. Enter name, e-mail address and mobile number, you're ready to go. A map showing the Moia business district appears on the screen.

11:10 am: I want to leave immediately. My goal: home. I urgently need to take my empties away from the weekend. I enter the destination and press "Confirm". My shuttle is supposed to arrive at 11:29 in the harbor city near my current location – in about 20 minutes.

11:20 am: I'm standing in a nondescript place that does not look like a stop. But that is exactly the principle of Moia: The stops are not recognizable by passers-by as such. They are only displayed in the app and vary depending on the route and other passers-by on the route.

11:29: Right now my Moia bus is to come. And indeed: on the horizon, the golden bus appears and – turns off. I suppose that did not work. After two more Moia buses drove past me, it's now 11:40. The app is: "Sorry, we are late" is on the display of my smartphone. My Moia shuttle, which can be seen as a yellow dot on the map, has not moved for minutes. The estimated time of arrival jumps from one to four minutes.

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This is how Moia strikes herself in everyday life

11:44 clock: Finally my shuttle arrives – 24 minutes late. The driver greets me with my first name and apologizes. He was stuck in a traffic jam. Before that, the golden Moia buses are not immune. I get in and sit down on one of the seats, reminiscent of modern wingback chairs. The sliding door closes automatically, the bus noises whirring away with its electric drive. But the driver is unlucky again. In a close Street a forwarding truck blocks the way.

The way we drive, seems to me cumbersome. But the driver follows the route of his navigation system and thus the logic of the Moia algorithm. At the time of departure, the arrival time was between 11:42 and 11:53. When I get out at my apartment, it's 12:11. After all, the virtual stop is only two house numbers from my apartment. For the 4.5-kilometer ride I pay five euros – this is the Maiximalpreis that Moia requires during the first month of commissioning, no matter how long the journey is.

12:36 pm: After a short visit in the apartment and with my water tank in hand, I am back on the road. I have already called the next shuttle and have more luck this time. Exactly to the minute, the Moia bus rolls into my street. Again, the stop is only about 30 meters from my door.

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Moia bus:
This is Volkswagen's electric shuttle

The driver does not even seem baffled when I enter the crate. Hand luggage and larger purchases are not a problem, he explains. Only large bulky luggage or furniture should not be transported. The journey runs smoothly and we arrive at the beverage market twelve minutes later, as predicted. Price for 4.2 kilometers: 4.82 euros.

13:10 clock: Deposit successfully delivered. I'm standing in the parking lot and want to book my next shuttle. I can always choose if I'm ready to start "immediately", "in 5 minutes", or "in 10 minutes". No matter which option I choose: The system indicates to me that all buses are currently occupied. I try again and I succeed. However, my bus supposedly comes in only 20 minutes. Had I been in a hurry, I would have a problem and would probably have to change buses and trains or call me a taxi. Instead, I go back to the beverage market, buy an ice tea and sit in the sun.

13:31 clock: Late, but at least on time, the Moia driver collects me and drives me to the kindergarten. I get there even six minutes earlier than predicted by the Moia app. I ask the driver if he can wait until I pick up the child from kindergarten. Unfortunately, this does not work because the next passenger is already waiting.

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VW service Moia in the price comparison:
Who drives the cheapest between Elbphilharmonie and Partyviertel

But I learned to do that. I am already booking the next vehicle. This time with three places (child, grandma and me) and choose as option a child seat. Waiting time: 17 minutes. Enough to drag the child out of the beloved corner of the playroom, put on shoes and jacket and then be back punctually at the nearby virtual station.

13:44 clock: Again, the bus is a little earlier than planned. Driver Christian sees me standing with the child by the hand on the roadside and gets out to fasten the child seat. In a jiffy, he has fished the shell out of the luggage compartment and even helps the boy to strap on. The latter has many questions about the golden bus and driver Christian seemingly in a good mood on his first day at work. He answers patiently and delivers us punctually in the city center on the Alster. Ice in the sun – here we are.


Moia works, but definitely has some weaknesses. The routes chosen by the drivers or the algorithm often seem awkward. In addition, the 300 chauffeurs, the Moia could hire only with difficulty and in sufficient numbers and with elaborate advertising – are often not sufficiently knowledgable.

When the shuttle stops at the side of the road and opens its door, the actual ride is usually a pleasure. First of all, if you look at the bill afterwards. Because Moia is indeed more expensive than public transport, but much cheaper than a comparabletaxi drive, Each additional passenger, booked via the app, also drives even cheaper. For larger groups, a Moia ride can be well worth it.

How well the ride-sharing service of VW actually works, but will probably show up in a few weeks. In addition, there should be fewer and fewer delays as soon as the fleet is increased in a few months for more vehicles.

When alternative For the time being Moia is only good for people who are never under time pressure. It always means that we should slow down. For the new car service from VW is quite well suited.

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