Deutsche Bahn retreats from ride pooling via CleverShuttle
The electric ride pooling service CleverShuttle is insolvent. Because Deutsche Bahn is withdrawing as an investor, CleverShuttle had to file for insolvency. Nevertheless, operations are continuing for the time being.
Deutsche Bahn has been the majority shareholder since 2018 and most recently held 86 per cent of the shares in the company, specifically GHT Mobility GmbH. “Due to the short-term cessation of financing, CleverShuttle had to file for insolvency today,” the statement said. CleverShuttle’s five operating regional companies (Southwest, Southeast, East, West and Northwest) are independent limited liability companies and are currently unaffected by insolvency. Therefore, all services operated by CleverShuttle will continue until further notice.
According to the company, Deutsche Bahn’s decision to stop financing CleverShuttle as majority owner came unexpectedly. “We are in a market ramp-up. On-demand transport has arrived in the industry and politics as a solution for the transport turnaround. We have achieved our economic goals agreed with Deutsche Bahn – and even exceeded them. This makes the decision to end the partnership all the more surprising,” says Bruno Ginnuth, CEO and co-founder of CleverShuttle.
CleverShuttle currently operates 21 on-demand services in more than 45 municipalities. Here, minibuses are on the road without a timetable and make flexible “virtual stops”, bundling passengers travelling on similar routes. This is done in cooperation and connection with the local public transport operators. Before the Corona pandemic, CleverShuttle operated privately under its own brand but withdrew from this sector during the lockdowns.
After this change in strategy, “CleverShuttle established itself as a partner of cities and districts within a very short time” and won more than half of all tenders for line-haul services in 2022. The specially developed algorithm is used to plan these journeys efficiently.
In the new situation, the company is looking for investors and is committed to continuing its services and securing jobs. CleverShuttle currently employs more than 800 people. “With profitable regional companies, nine years of experience in operating on-demand transport, high software expertise and excellent relationships with our customers, we are optimistic about the future despite this news. Initial talks with potential investors are already underway,” said Ginnuth.
With reporting by Sebastian Schaal, Germany.
clevershuttle.de (in German)