You have already seen it in movies or series, people travelling and switching means of transportation by using only their smartphones and without the hassle of buying and carrying tickets. How many times did you watch your train leave while you were waiting for the machine to print that one ticket you needed to get in? Well, the Finnish MaaS (Mobility as a Service) made “Whim”, a revolutionary app for an all in one mobility.
Whim is an app of MaaS Global, a Finnish company and the world’s first MaaS (Mobility as a Service) operator. Whim aims to revolutionize the way people move and travel to first of all, offer an alternative model for car ownership and second of all, offer a covered journey regardless of the transportation mean (Taxi, car, or public transport).
Whim aims to centralize all aspects and touchpoints of your journey. Planning, reservation, payment and also subscriptions. Whim is the first app to gather all means of transportation without any friction. You can order a taxi, get a train ticket, rent a car, book a bicycle or use the journey planner to combine all of them to optimize your journey. Whenever a service is used, Whim transfers money to the service provider (train, taxi…). By optimizing journeys thanks to the journey planner, Whim has
a positive impact on avoiding congestion in urban areas. Also, it provides cities or transport operators with golden data to help them anticipate flows and manage subscriptions. Moreover, the app helps them guarantee usage by bringing in more customers.
The app is currently operational in Helsinki and just started expanding in the UK. MaaS Global is using Helsinki as a test market to prove the concept and profitability. Whim gives access to a complete range of transportation and offers 3 main plans.
This plan is free as it allows the user to pay per ride. For each trip, the user will buy a ticket and pay without surcharges nor commitment. This plan is ideal for those who want to try out the app or those who don’t want to travel that much.
For regular users who use daily public transportation and may order a taxi or rent a car occasionally. The user has unlimited public transportation tickets plus Taxi in a 5km radius and a car for 49€ per day. This plan includes also city bike and can be canceled at any time.
It sounds very expensive but this plan gives unlimited access to public transportation, taxis, cars and city bikes. According to Sampo Mietanen, MaaS Global’s CEO, this plan is cheaper and an affordable alternative to car ownership. At the same cost, the user can access to all means of transportation without the hassle of maintenance, parking and resell. Also, for all the plans, users gain points when they choose the smartest option and can use these points for other services like food ordering.
After the test period in Finland, Whim aims to expand to other countries and France is in the scope for 2018. The cofounder of MaaS Globales states that Nantes, Nice or Strasbourg are one of the targeted cities. As the company would expand internationally by 2020, the cofounder explains that the hardest part is to convince public and private transportation to join the platform. Paris, a city which suffers from congestion a huge load of traffic would be interested by the concept but it is a
complex market for a start-up. Also, the cofounder says they need to be able to convince, so that partners show the willingness to open their APIs. In Finland, more than 200 operators accepted to open APIs even for payment.
In order to make this concept a reality, MaaS Global has already raised 14 million euros this summer. Toyota and Transdev are one of the first investors to invest and express their interest in this disruptive concept. Before expanding to new markets, the company is doing research and studies about costs with different partners. The next markets will be France, Belgium and the UK where the company just started. Also, the CEO states that Whim is also willing to include flights, in order to offer a complete package of mobility.