Whim launches in the UK
And builds a house the size of a parking space
Finnish mobility as a service (MaaS) provider Whim has launched its transport app to citizens in the West Midlands, UK.
The region is the first outside of Finland the company has rolled out its service. For the launch event, Whim unveiled the world’s smallest three-story house (the size of an average car parking space) in Birmingham’s Brindley Place. The house will be in situ and open to the public until 14th April 2018.
The Spotify of the transport world
Referred to as the Spotify of the transport world, Whim unveiled its revolutionary packages available to citizens across the West Midlands.
The scheme is backed by a host of organisations including Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), Mayor Andy Street and the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA). Customers are being offered three options:
- Pay as you go
- Whim Everyday for £99 per month, which includes unlimited public transport with taxis and best-price car hire
- Whim Unlimited for £349 per month, which includes unlimited public transport, all taxi rides within a three-mile radius of your location and up to 30 days car hire per month.
Reduce the need for parking, build more houses
The parking-space-sized three-storey house highlights the message of what can be achieved when cars are taken off the streets.
Whim founder Sampo Hietanen said he was excited to bring Whim to the West Midlands.
“We want to challenge the way people start to think about their journeys and let them see that vehicle ownership doesn’t have to be the only way forward. Whim offers a smart alternative for smart people.”
“On average, cars are parked up, unused, for about 96 per cent of their lifetime – but we still have to pay for them, sometimes in conjunction with other transport options too. Owning a car is actually a burden for many people but there’s been no realistic alternative until now.”
Citizen transport of the future
National Express, Gett, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, nextbike and other transport providers have already signed up to the scheme with others lined up to get involved.
Whim integrates journey planning, reservations, payments and subscriptions into one app.
The company already operates successfully in Helsinki, where it has 20,000 registered users. It aims to expand to Antwerp and Flanders, in Belgium, later in 2018. Negotiations are also ongoing in the Netherlands, Austria, Canada, Singapore, and several other markets.
Commuters using Whim will be able to access a number of different modes of public transport including buses, trams, taxis and hire cars, either as part of a monthly fee or on pay-as-you-go.
People will also have full access to the new 5,000-strong fleet of nextbike bike-share cycles that were announced for the Midlands last month.