The UK’s first Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) system has launched in the West Midlands region, with the revolutionary Whim mobility smartphone application offering seamless travel by bringing different modes of transportation into a single app.
Developed by the Finnish pioneers of the concept, MaaS Global, Whim offers National Express bus and metro tickets, routes and timetables, as well as Gett taxi services, through the app, making traveling easier and more convenient to all passengers.
During the initial launch phase, Whim will be available on a pay-per-ride basis to consumers that have signed up to the service, and new users will be invited to join via the Whim website.
The next steps are to make the service available to all West Midlands commuters by the end of 2017, when the company will also introduce monthly packages and new transport modes, such as coaches, rental cars and city bikes to the Whim ecosystem.
The launch is a result of cooperation between MaaS Global, Transport for West Midlands, the National Express transit company and Gett. More partners are being invited to take part in offering even broader mobility services to customers. The availability of the Whim mobility service is first-of-its kind in the UK, with the system having been trialed and fully operational in the Helsinki area of Finland since 2016.
Travelers can now ‘pay-as-you-go’ for multi-modal transport tickets with the app or get a monthly fixed-price package to cover all their daily journeys. Whim syncs with the user’s calendar and helps remove some of the planning problems using different transport modes, while also offering instant travel recommendations for spontaneous trips.
“We could not have hoped for a better partner to launch Whim in West Midlands than National Express bus,” noted Kaj Pyyhtiä, chief customer experience officer and co-founder of MaaS Global.
“Our vision is to make transportation smarter to offer seamless mobility for all people with one service and a single monthly fee; this way we can offer people a genuine and easy alternative to owning a car. Public transportation is the backbone in realizing this vision, and the extensive and comprehensive National Express bus network is a perfect fit.”
National Express development director Martin Hancock commented, “Intelligent mobile technology provides the ideal opportunity for passengers to trial and use our services. By increasing use of our buses, congestion will reduce and air quality improve, making the cities and towns of the West Midlands even more attractive as places to live and invest in.”