SEATTLE — At last week's North American launch event for PSA Group's mobility platform Free2Move, a government official here boasted he was planning to use the app to get himself home.
But then Scott Kubly, director of Seattle's Department of Transportation, realized the app wouldn't work for him because he needed to take a Lyft.
Free2Move promises to link all kinds of transportation options together — allowing users to book trips using a mix of car-sharing, bike-sharing, ride-hailing and public transit through one interface and payment system. PSA has big goals for the app, but the biggest challenges it faces are getting some of the most popular and frequently used transportation options onto the platform, such as Lyft and Uber, which both have their own apps, and public transportation operators around the country.
In Europe, Free2Move has connected about 400,000 users to 30 mobility providers in Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, France, Italy, Austria and Sweden in a little more than a year of operation.
The company said it's optimistic it can make partnerships with city governments in the U.S., which have been open to the opportunities Free2Move presents, despite past clashes with fast-moving mobility services. Uber and Lyft, however, have been less welcoming.
"It takes a while to get them to understand the value of our aggregation," Larry Dominique, PSA's CEO of North America, told Automotive News of the French automaker's efforts to attract ride-hailing partners. "They worry about competition, but at the end of the day, we're trying to make it easier for their customers to engage with them."
The mobility services app marks PSA's first step back into the North American market, which it left in 1991.