The pioneering Whim mobility service by Finnish MaaS Global is taking the next step in its international expansion. The launch in Antwerp, Belgium, was announced in a press briefing on the 30th of September. It’s expected that the first test users will get their hands on the service later this year, with a commercial launch to follow in early 2018.
The Whim mobile app brings all means of transport, from public transit to taxis, bikes and car sharing, under one subscription. Its aim is to revolutionise the way people travel, replacing the necessity of private car ownership with a flexible service that fulfills all mobility needs.
A wide range of transport partners
The public transport provider for bus and tram services for the entire Flanders region, De Lijn, and the national rail organisation NMBS have both already expressed their strong intention to participate in the pilot project. With public transport being the very backbone of any MaaS (short for Mobility as a Service) offering, Whim has got off to an excellent start in Antwerp. The involvement of regional transport organisations also bodes well for expanding the service in the future.
Several local transport companies have signed a letter of intent with MaaS Global to underline their commitment. The wide array of mobility options represented includes taxis from Antwerp Taxi and DTM Taxi, free-floating bikes from Cloudbike and free-floating scooters from Scooty. Also Velo, with its shared station-based bicycles is interested in joining the service. Whim users will have access to a car via one or more car rental companies connected to the service.
What’s more, the free floating car-sharing start-ups Bolides and Poppy, who are following the developments in the multimodal landscape with interest, have stated a strong interest in following the developments of Whim. Cambio’s car sharing service could become another interesting addition to Whim.
The ideal testing ground
Launched in the Helsinki region in Finland in 2016, the Whim service is being piloted in the West Midlands, UK, and later this year in Greater Amsterdam in the Netherlands. In addition, negotiations are currently ongoing in several other cities including Vienna, Copenhagen, Toronto and Singapore.
“Smart solutions like Whim will help convince our commuters to make smarter choices. This initiative demonstrates yet again that Antwerp is the number one smart city in Flanders. Together with our partners, we are building tomorrow’s mobility!”, the Vice Mayor of Antwerp, Koen Kennis, enthuses.
Ralph De Jong, MaaS Global’s Launch Manager for Benelux, is equally excited about the opportunities in Antwerp:
“Antwerp with its multitude of transport options is ideal for showcasing the flexibility and endless possibilities of Whim. We are grateful and humbled by the enthusiasm with which the city has embraced our service and look forward to a successful long-term co-operation,” he says.
The citizens of Antwerp can already pre-register as Whim users at www.whimapp.com/be.
Whim is a revolutionary mobility app that frees you to travel wherever and whenever. You can find all the routes, fees, tickets, timetables, booking and travel options in one place so that you can focus on the essentials. Choose a monthly package to cover all your daily journeys, or just pay-as-you-go.
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