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Covered in the Article
- What is Whim App?
- Whim's Services
- Whim Cities
- Save with Whim
- Our Whim Experiences in Helsinki, Finland
- Traveller and Whim
- Cons of Whim
- Competing Services
- Bottom Line
What is Whim App?
Whim is a service that combines different public transportation methods into a single app. With the Whim app, a user may buy public transport tickets, order taxis and hire a car or bike. Whim has different pricing plans: a user may pay as he/she goes, have a fixed priced all-inclusive subscription or something between these models.
Whim was introduced first time in Helsinki in 2015. After which, Whim has expanded to Turku, Belgium, West Midlands, Vienna and to multiple cities in Schwitzerland. Whim has also started cooperating with transportation officials in Tokyo. Most likely, the list will get longer when the company grows.
MaaS - the Company behind Whim
Whim is operated by a Finnish company, MaaS Global. The compay is still in the growing phase.
In Finland, Whim is available in Helsinki metropolitan area and Turku. Whim has designed plans so that you can easily buy only the services you need. That makes the pricing model user-friendly.
Pricing plans in Whim cities are almost similar but there are minor differences. The service catalogues are not equal and they may be called with different names.
Traditional Public Transport
Buying traditional public transport tickets is maybe to most popular way to use Whim. You can buy single tickets, serial tickets or monthly subscriptions. Whim supports also tickets for discount groups. The exact ticket selection varies between cities. In Helsinki, the public transport subscriptions have the same prices no matter if you buy them from Whim or the local public transport operator. However, with the Whim, you will get extra perks like discounted taxi rides.
City Bikes and Scooters
In some cities, you can use Whim App to pay for scooters or city bikes. For example, in Helsinki, you can buy a seasonal city bike or monthly scooter subscription. Paying as you go is also possible. Whim has been changing plans regularly so checking the current plans from the official Whim website is recommended.
Whim App can be used to order taxis. In Helsinki, Whim offers discounted taxi rides from many companies for Whim users. Rides have dynamic pricing but you will know the price before confirming the order. Taxis via Whim are available also in other Whim cities.
Public transportation is not always a fast enough solution but taxis may be too expensive. Luckily, Whim offers an easy way to hire a car. In Helsinki, hiring a car costs 55 euros per day but the service is available only for those who are holding another valid Whim plan like a monthly public transport subscription.
Hire cars via Whim are not available in all Whim cities.
For heavy movers, Whim has also an Unlimited Plan. In Helsinki, Whim Unlimited users can use public transport as much as they wish. Or they can hire a car without extra charges or have 80 costless short-distance taxi rides. There are some limits and restrictions so is it advised to read the terms carefully before ordering Whim Unlimited service. This plan is also expensive costing 699 euros in Helsinki per month.
Whim changes the pricing often so it is wise to confirm the latest information from the app.
Whim may offer customers additional benefits. For example, you may get a free city bike ride, free one-time use of a co-working facility or discounted short-term car hires. To get extra benefits, you need usually to buy other Whim services first. These extras are related to public transport and urban life.
In January 2022, Whim has the following services:
|Helsinki||Public transport, taxis, hire cars, bikes and scooters|
|Turku||Public transport, taxis, hire cars, bikes and scooters|
|Belgium||Public transport, trains, taxis, hire cars, city bikes and scooters|
|Vienna||Public transport, taxis and scooters|
|West Midlands||Public transport, trains, taxis, hire cars, city bikes and shared cars|
Save with Whim
With Whim's discounted extras, you may slightly reduce your transportation costs. But when you are subscribed to Whim, you will typically pay the standard prices for public transport. In this case, there is no difference if you choose to pay directly to the service provider concerned or via Whim. If you are to utilize regularly different methods of public transportation, subscription to the needed services via Whim is a good choice. In addition, taxi rides and car hires may be discounted.
The best part is that you only need one app. There is no hassle between public transport, car hiring or taxi apps but the Whim App is enough.
Our Whim Experiences in Helsinki, Finland
To Workplace by Whim
Ceasar used to commute from home to workplace by utilizing purely public transport. As long as he started to do jobs at different locations, he started subscribing to Whim. At that time, Whim had a fixed price for short taxi rides. Because of his quite strict schedule between two shifts, a quick ride was needed to get in time to the next workplace. Thanks to the benefit of Whim, which included a cheap fixed priced taxi ride of 10€ within the 5-kilometre radius. Paying it directly to taxi companies should have cost more than double, say about €23 for the same journey costing €10 with Whim. Unfortunately, Whim does not have this benefit in Helsinki anymore.
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 a Whim subscription, she had to pay about 3x the cost to what was paid by Ceasar for the almost same length of a journey during the strike day. Note, in times of strikes, employers in Finland are not obliged to compensate additional unexpected transportation costs for employees.
Whim Taxi Rides
Ordering a taxi via Whim App is as easy as with other taxi apps. You just have to indicate your pickup location and your destination. 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 for us, 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 the next taxi, the previous just passed him without stopping and the journey updated 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 the 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.
Whim App Review
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 the internet. 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 public transportation and not need it next month, you have to customize or change 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 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 increase the brightness of your mobile screen.
There is a con in the app. You can't select your region yourself but the system choose it on behalf of you.
Traveller and 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 at your home location.
There are only a few Whim metropolia in Europe but most likely, their number will grow. In Asia, Whim services are available in 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.
Cons of Whim
Whim is not a perfect solution yet. The official website is quite unclear about what services there are available in different Whim locations. Also, the price lists are hard to find. We were able to find Helsinki region prices but the app does not allow us to change the region manually to see services available in the other regions. It could be a good idea to improve the communication.
Another thing that makes us worried is the slow development speed. We wrote the first version of this article a few years ago but since then, not much has changed. That makes us wonder if Whim is becoming a global solution as they are marketing?
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 apps like a normal taxi or Uber. The app gives you clear details of when and where you will be picked up.
In Finland, ViaVan was piloting but it is not operating anymore.
Car Sharing services are competitors for all kinds 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 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.
In the future, car-sharing and ViaVan may not anymore be competitors for Whim but more like partners. A user could use the same app to order these services too.
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 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 kinds of public transportation 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 tried Whim? What were your experiences?