Having the opportunity to regularly spend time in Berlin has been a great learning experience for me. Putting aside the Brandenburg airport fiasco, in terms of urban mobility, the city is very supportive of new ideas to get its residents around town.
If I had not had the chance to spend adequate amounts of time in Berlin and have Christoph pushing me to adapt to new technology, I would never have signed up to car-sharing services or bike-sharing services. Even having the public transport app where I can buy my bus tickets would never have occurred to me. I’m a paper girl. I like having paper tickets, I like paperback books, I like newspapers that you can open and take up the entire table to read.
But the reality of the world we currently live in has changed dramatically over the years. Technology has infiltrated into almost every aspect of our lives and we either have to adapt and learn to make it work for us or remain in the dark ages. Although I love paperback books, I have embraced the kindle. I love music but have given up my CD collection and turned to music streaming services. I use the BVG app to buy my bus and train tickets and I subscribe to my favourite newspapers on my iPad. I use Car2go when I need to drive somewhere so I don’t need a car sitting in a garage for half the year. These handful of apps allow me to have the mobility that our current lifestyle calls for.
I also have a bike-sharing app (I already use one in Shanghai) and the most recent addition to my urban mobility arsenal is scooter-sharing by Coup. To add to all these apps, what will be coming and is already the norm in China is mobile payments. Alipay and Wechat pay are the two biggest mobile paying apps that, the last I read, 90% of Chinese citizens who own a smartphone uses. No one carries cash anymore. You can pay for almost anything through those two portals. I don’t have it yet but Christoph is a regular user and loves it. I’m sure by the end of the year, I’ll be catching up with the rest of China have an Alipay or Wechat pay account too!