Whim has recently launched a mobility app in the West Midlands that offers seamless travel by bringing different modes of transportation into a single app with one monthly fee.
The mobility app is the customer interface to a new type of transport proposition known as ‘Mobility as a Service’ or MaaS.
There are several competing definitions for MaaS but in general it is taken to mean using digital technology to seamlessly integrate and enhance of all public and private transport services through better journey information and integrated ticketing and payment systems to meet the complete mobility needs of the customer.
Transport for the West Midlands and Whim are pioneering a new MaaS scheme including services provided by Gett taxis, National Express buses, Midland Metro trams, and shortly local train services, city bikes, rental cars and car club vehicles. Customers will have a choice of either pay-per-ride or monthly subscription where customers pre-purchase ‘mobility packages’ that provides the ability for a customer to consume mobility across all providers participating in the scheme up to set limits – a certain amount of travel by taxi, a certain amount of travel by bus, etc.
MaaS schemes have the potential to reduce dependency on any one type of transport by reducing and/ or removing the friction of accessing different transport services and allowing individuals to choice the right mode for the journey they are making.
In support of these observations, a recent study undertaken by University College London found that 50% of people who responded to their research questions indicated that they would be willing to try modes they previously hadn’t used if they were part of a MaaS scheme and 23% of car owning respondents agreed that MaaS would help them depend less on their cars, with 20% noting a willingness to sell their cars for unlimited access to car sharing for the next couple of years.
In Helsinki, where the first iteration of the Whim platform was launched in 2016, use of public transport increased from 48% to 74% of all journeys made by scheme members, with car journeys halving from 40% to 20%. These results are encouraging and will, no doubt, prompt interest in exploring opportunities associated with MaaS.
In a new Case Study for the Transport Knowledge Hub, we provide details of what MaaS is, we identify what’s driving the phenomenon, review what business models are emerging and crucially note what operators and local transport authorities should be doing now to prepare the way for more MaaS applications.
About the Author
This post was written by Chris Perry & Ben Faulsner.