Whim, the Spotify of the transport world, will launch its e-mobility program across the West Midlands next month, revolutionising the way people use public transport in the region.
Backed by organisations including Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), Mayor Andy Street and the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), Whim is now looking for the first 500 people to sign up to the scheme, with the grand unveiling on April 3.
The award-winning Whim app, which dovetails with the Swift travel card, delivers smarter transport solutions that will see people enjoying seamless travel options for less than the average monthly cost of running a car.
Often dubbed as the Spotify or Netflix of the transport world, Whim integrates journey planning, reservations, payments and subscriptions into one app.
Finnish-owned Whim already operates successfully in Helsinki, where it has 20,000 registered users. It is currently looking for its first 500 West Midlands users to take part in the launch of the scheme ahead of its mass roll out in the region later this summer.
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. This gives users the simplicity of one card for all these modes of transport and stops you having to have a handful of tickets. The app also means that you can plan an entire trip from start to finish and order whichever services are required for that trip. This is the first e-mobility service in the UK.
E-Mobility also for Nextbike Bike-Share Cycles
Users will also have full access to the new 5,000-strong fleet of nextbike bike-share cycles that were announced for the Midlands earlier this week.
Whim is being launched in collaboration with WMCA, TfWM, National Express, Gett Taxis, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, nextbike and other transport providers and we believe that it was this potential for integration that would have been one of the deciding factors in favour of nextbike over local rivals Pashley.
Users can choose whether to opt for an all-inclusive e-mobility monthly contract, ranging from £99 – £349 that gives access to travel anywhere in the West Midlands, or to take a pay-as-you-go approach.
Whim founder Sampo Hietenan said he was excited to be bringing 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 80 percent of the time – 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.”
Whim is the world’s first and only monthly e-mobility service. It aims to expand to Greater Amsterdam in the Netherlands, the Antwerp region in Belgium as well as Singapore by the end of 2018. Negotiations are ongoing in Austria, Canada, Singapore, and several other markets.
Mr Hietanen continued: “We like cars, we’re certainly not anti-car, and we still offer access to cars when needed, via taxis or through hire. But we are showing people that they don’t need to be so reliant on car ownership. Once people realise this, the benefits are huge – less traffic, less pollution, less stressful journeys.
“Whim will also reward people for greener, healthier options such as walking more and having car-free days. It just makes more sense.
“When we launched in Helsinki, we found that people were ready for this kind of service, there is a clear demand for e-mobility.
“We’re confident the West Midlands is a great place for us to launch Whim for the first time outside Finland. We’ve been very positively received and it’s been very clear from the start that the area is dynamic and open to partnership working and innovation,” he added.