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Table of Contents
- What is Whim?
- Whim's Plans
- Does Whim Save From Transportation Costs?
- Whim Experiences in Helsinki
- How Does a Traveller Benefit from Whim?
- Other Similar Solutions
- Bottom Line
What is Whim?
Whim is a service that combines different public transportation methods into one place. With a Whim subscription and its mobile application, a user may buy public transport tickets, order taxis and rent a car or city bikes. Whim has different pricing models: You may be paying as you go, have a fixed priced all-inclusive subscription or something between these models.
Whim was introduced first time in Helsinki, Finland in 2015. After which, Whim has expanded to Antwerpen, Birmingham and to Vienna. Also, they have just started cooperating with transportation officials in two major Asian cities, Tokyo and Singapore. The list will most likely to grow after the company has got enough experience.
MaaS - the Company behind Whim
Whim is operated by a Finnish company, MaaS Global. MaaS is still in the growing phase and not making any revenue yet. More than 14 millions euros have been invested to this company.
In Finland, Whim is available in Helsinki metropolitan area. About 100,000 residents in Helsinki area are using Whim that is about 10% of the population. In Helsinki, Whim offers four different pricing plans.
Pricing plans in other Whim cities are similar but there are also minor differences like how they name their different types of subscriptions.
Option 1: Whim to Go
Whim to Go is the cheapest subscription. There is no monthly fee but you pay as you go. Service prices are the same as they would be when ordering services directly from operators. Whim just combines different transportation methods to a single application.
Whim to Go is sometimes called also Pay as You Go.
Option 2: Whim Urban 30
Whim Urban 30 is a monthly subscription. In Helsinki, that costs €59.70 monthly including unlimited public transport rides using Helsinki City's public transport (HSL) and unlimited city bike rentals (30 mins / rental). In addition, shorter than 5 kilometers taxi rides are fixed priced costing only 10 euros. Renting a car costs €49 per day.
Whim Urban 30 plan is called Whim Everyday in Antwerpen and Birmingham. Whim Everyday in Antwerpen is similar as Whim Urban 30 in Helsinki but the plan in Birmingham does not include fixed priced taxis. City bikes are also not available in Birmingham yet. So far in Vienna, there is no Whim Everyday plan available.
Option 3: Whim Weekend
Whim Weekend is the second best subscription model costing 249 euros per month. It includes the same services as Whim Urban 30 but also a free use of a rental car during weekends. Taxi rides are discounted by 15%. Unfortunately, fixed priced short taxi rides are unavailable with this subscription.
This plan exists only in Helsinki.
Option 4: Whim Unlimited
Whim Unlimited is the best subscription. It costs as much as €499 per month in Helsinki but it has two additional major benefits. Taxi rides shorter than 5 kilometers are totally free of charge and unlimited. Renting a car is also free of charge. However, you can't rent a car and have free unlimited taxi rides concurrently.
Whim Unlimited plan exist also in Birmingham only with minor differences.
In Helsinki area, you can extend your public transport coverage (more than 2 zones) by paying a little extra. It is also possible to use services that are not included to the monthly price and they will be charged as you go.
Whim Plans' Prices
|Whim to Go||You pay what you use|
|Whim Urban 30||59.70 euros / month|
|Whim Weekend||249 euros / month|
|Whim Unlimited||499 euros / month|
|Whim to Go||You pay what you use|
|Whim Everyday||55 euros / month|
|Whim Unlimited||not available|
|Whim to Go||You pay what you use|
|Whim Everyday||99 pounds / month|
|Whim Unlimited||349 pounds / month|
Does Whim Save From Transportation Costs?
The answer is both YES and NO. When a user is subscribed to Whim to Go, you will pay standard prices for public transport, taxi rides and car rentals. In this case, there is no difference if you choose to pay directly to the service provider concerned or via Whim. Still, when you are preferring to use Whim app, this subscription is suitable for visitors or those who do not travel that often. For example in Helsinki, you will get additional benefits of your money when subscribed to the other types of Whim subscriptions: Whim Urban 30, Whim Weekend and Whim Unlimited. If you are to utilize regularly different methods of public transports, subscription to Whim will be an excellent choice.
We Saved by Cheap Taxi Rides
Ceasar used to commute from home to workplace by utilizing purely public transport. As long as he started to do job at different locations, he started subscribing to Whim since September last year. Because of quite strict schedule between two shifts, a quick ride is needed to get on time to the next workplace. Thanks to the benefit of Whim Urban 30, which includes a cheap fixed priced taxi ride of 10€ within the 5-kilometer radius. Paying it directly to taxi companies should have cost more than double, say about €23 for the same journey costing €10 with Whim.
Another example is, that Ceasar saved from an expensive taxi ride during a public transport strike in Helsinki Region. While Ceasar's workmate didn't have Whim subscription, she had to pay about 3x the cost to what was paid by Ceasar for the almost same length of journey during the strike day. Note, in times of strikes, employers in Finland are not obliged to compensate additional unexpected transportation cost for employees.
Whim Experiences in Helsinki
Fixed Priced Taxi
Ordering a taxi via Whim App is really easy. You just have to indicate your pickup location and your destination. If you are only willing to pay a €10 taxi ride, make sure to check that your journey is within the 5 Kms radius. Thankfully, the Whim app is clearly showing this. You will then select which taxi company you prefer. Whim Helsinki is partnering with three taxi companies namely Kajon, Taksi Helsinki, and Lähhitaxi. Since you are required to set up a payment account when registering as a new user to Whim App, your taxi ride is charged from your bank card and you get an electronic receipt via email at the end of your journey. This feature of Whim is quite convenient saving a little time especially when in a hurry skipping the last minute hassle to take out your card to pay to the taxi driver.
Waiting time is usually 5-10 minutes but one incident was encountered, where the taxi driver arrived late though the app showed up the journey is ongoing after the indicated waiting time in the app elapsed. While Ceasar thought that the said taxi is already taken by someone else, Ceasar had to relocate to a taxi station in the city centre, until then while waiting for next taxi, the previous just passed him without stopping and the journey update in the app appeared the order is cancelled. Fortunately, a new order was made and the next taxi arrived very fast. By then, Ceasar told the driver of the same taxi company what has just happened, and driver honestly told:
¨Because he (the previous taxi driver) sees what amount of money the passenger is paying, most probably he wants more than that¨.
With this one incident, if ever the statement of that driver who took Ceasar eventually to the ferry terminal is right, it would be quite disappointing that somehow some taxi drivers choose to discriminate some Whim customers when in the first place they are partnering with Whim.
The Whim App itself is handy to use, it is working smoothly and you're able to open your tickets and use the app only when connected to an internet connection. The app saves all your previous taxi trips into a single place, My trips. Be mindful though that if you intend to subscribe only for a short time say one month for Whim Urban 30 and not needing it next month, you have to customize or change your current plan by shifting Whim to Go before your current subscription ends. Otherwise, there will be an automatic renewal of your current subscription and you will be charged automatically without prior warning. An electronic receipt is sent by e-mail for every ticket purchase.
The public transportation tickets in Whim 30 plan are easily accessible in Whim App. You just open the app and show the ticket if it needs to be inspected. While viewing your mobile ticket in the Whip app, it will automatically increased the brightness of your mobile screen.
How Does a Traveller Benefit from Whim?
So far, as a traveller, you do not benefit much from Whim. Of course, you can use the same application in every Whim city, but your Whim plan will only be valid in your home location.
There are only four Whim metropolis in Europe but most likely, their number will grow. In Asia, Whim services will soon be first available in Singapore and Greater Tokyo. We expect that there will be some kind of co-operation between Whim cities later. After that, a traveller may benefit more from Whim.
Other Similar Solutions
ViaVan is a shared taxi. It combines rides of many passengers to a single van. The journey time will be longer than with a normal taxi but the price will accordingly be lower. ViaVan is a shared bus with dynamic routes.
ViaVan can be ordered by its own app like a normal taxi or Uber. The app gives you clear details when and where you will be picked up.
In Finland, ViaVan is available only in a small area of Espoo. However, the service is available in many big European metropolis like in London.
Car Sharing like DriveNow is a competitor for all kind of public transportation. You just reserve a car, drive to your destination and you pay usually based on the driving time.
Unfortunately, there are major cons of car sharing. The cars are not available everywhere and the nearest car may be far away. You may not be allowed to leave the car to your destination. You naturally need also a license to drive and you will be liable for the damages.
While car sharing may be a great a solution for certain occasions, taxis and services like Whim are more flexible. Surprisingly, they may also become cheaper especially when you are subscribed to one of their plans.
Whim is a handy service that combines different public transportation methods to a single application. The app may encourage you to increase the use of the public transport which is nice for the trending global issue, global warming. With fixed-priced plans, a Whim user who needs to utilize regularly different kind of public transports will get the best value of his/her money with a Whim plan.
So far, there are not many Whim cities in Europe. As the number of Whim destinations grow, the application will be handy especially for travellers. Hopefully in the future, travellers can use the same app in every European capital city and other major city destinations in the world.
Have you tested Whim? What were your experiences?
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