Mass-transit ridership has plummeted. Scooter companies have shuttered in key cities. Ride-hailing networks have scrambled to pivot from carrying humans to carrying takeout orders.
So it's a curious time to buy a transportation company whose operations are predicated on people moving around. Despite a world wracked by a pandemic, that's just what Intel Corp. did last week.
With a shrug toward today's maladies and an eye on the future, the tech giant purchased Moovit, an Israeli mobility-as-a-service provider, for $900 million through Intel's Mobileye subsidiary. Discussions between the companies started with the intention of a potential investment: Intel ultimately decided to buy Moovit outright.
Mobileye is banking on coronavirus-related travel disruptions remaining a temporary hindrance rather than a catalyst for long-term changes in transportation.
"In the times of great crisis, you either pull back or lean in, and this is an example of leaning in," said Amnon Shashua, Mobileye CEO. "People still need to move from place to place."
Moovit wraps those various transportation modes into an app that aggregates data from multiple transit partners. It's a single place to plan and pay for a multimodal journey around a city that might involve public transit, ride-hailing, scooter and bike rentals and more.