Revolutionary travel arrives as Whim launches across the Midlands

Whim, the new travel app which links public transport, car hire and the new bike-share cycle scheme, has unveiled its revolutionary packages and pricing ahead of Thursday’s grand launch across the West Midlands.

Transforming the way people use public transport in the region and backed by organisations including Transport for West Midlands, Mayor Andy Street and the West Midlands Combined Authority, Whim will offer Midlanders three options to help them get around the region.

Through the app, customers will be able to set a start point and final destination and receive travel instructions using the best combination of transport open to them. From its launch tomorrow, commuters will be able to choose from a pay as you go option, using the app to pay for single trips on a case by case basis, or specially designed packages which begin at under £100. 

'Whim Everyday' will set users back £99 per month and includes unlimited trips on public transport with taxis and best-price car hire as separate charges. 'Whim Unlimited', for £349 per month, includes unlimited public transport, all taxi rides within a three-mile radius of your location and up to 30 days car hire per month.

Bosses are looking for the first 500 people to sign up to the scheme and will bring a three-storey house the size of a parking space to the centre of Birmingham to underline its message of what can be achieved when you take cars off the streets. Whim founder, Sampo Hietanan, is excited to be bringing Whim to the West Midlands. He said:

“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 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.”

The award-winning Whim app, which dovetails with the existing Swift travel card, delivers smart travel solutions to fit in with the way you lead your life – a bus, tram or train to and from work and perhaps a taxi after a night out. Operators including National Express, Gett Taxis, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and nextbike have already signed up to the scheme with others lined up to get involved.

Often dubbed as the 'Spotify of the transport world', Whim integrates journey planning, reservations, payments and subscriptions into one app. 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.

“People will also soon start to realise the positive health benefits of walking a little more and driving less - not to mention the time and money freed up by not having to maintain a car or having to sit behind the wheel in a traffic jam. 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. We’re confident the West Midlands is a great place for us to launch Whim for the first time outside Finland."

Finnish-owned Whim is the world’s first and only monthly mobility service and 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 pay-as-you-go.

Commuters 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.

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