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Table of Contents
- What is Whim?
- Whim's Services and Plans
- Whim Cities and Services
- Does Whim Save From Transportation Costs?
- Whim Experiences in Helsinki
- How Does a Traveller Benefit from Whim?
- Competing Services
- Bottom Line
What is Whim?
Whim is a service that combines different public transportation methods into one place. With the Whim mobile application, a user may buy public transport tickets, order taxis and rent a car or a city bike. Whim has different pricing models: You may pay 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 Turku, Antwerpen, West Midlands and to Vienna. Also, they have 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 profit yet. More than 14 millions euros have been invested to this company.
Whim's Services and Plans
In Finland, Whim is available in Helsinki metropolitan area and in Turku. Whim has redesigned its plans and now you can buy more easily only the services you need. The new pricing model is more user-friendly.
Pricing plans in Whim cities are similar but there are minor differences like how they are named and what services are available.
Buying 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 from the local public transport operator. However, with the Whim, you will get extra benefits 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 subscription for a fixed and discounted price. To rent scooters, you pay them as you go.
Whim App can be used to order taxis. In Helsinki, Whim is offering fixed priced taxi rides for short distances less than 3 kilometres. Longer rides have dynamic pricing but you will know the price before confirming the order. Taxis via Whim are available also in other Whim cities.
Currently in Helsinki, there is a fixed price of 12,50 euros for 3 kilometres ride by a Whim taxi. Before, the price was 10 euros for 5 kilometres.
Public transportation is not always a solution but taxis may be too expensive. Luckily, Whim offers an easy way to rent a car. In Helsinki, renting 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.
Rental cars via Whim are not available in all Whim cities.
For heavy movers, Whim has also an Unlimited Plan. You can use public transport as much as you wish. Or you can rent a car without extra charges or have costless short-distance taxi rides. The are limits and restrictions so better to read the terms carefully before ordering Whim Unlimited service. This plan is also expensive costing 699 euros in Helsinki per month.
Whim Cities and Services
In April 2021, Whim has the following services:
|Helsinki||Public Transport, taxis, rental cars, city bikes and scooters|
|Turku||Public Transport, taxis, rental cars, city bikes and scooters|
|Antwerpen||Public Transport, trains, taxis, rental cars, city bikes and scooters|
|Vienna||Public Transport, taxis, rental cars|
|West Midlands||Information missing|
Does Whim Save From Transportation Costs?
The answer is both YES and NO. When you are subscribed to Whim, you will pay approximately the 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. If you are to utilize regularly different methods of public transports, subscription to the needed services via Whim will be an excellent choice.
The best part is that you only need one app. There is no hassle between public transport, car rental or taxi apps but the Whim App is enough.
We Saved by Fixed-priced 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. That time, Whim had fixed price for short taxi rides. Because of his quite strict schedule between two shifts, a quick ride was needed to get on time to the next workplace. Thanks to the benefit of Whim, which includes 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.
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.
In April 2021, taxis cost 12,50 euros for 3 kilometres ride.
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 willing to pay only 12,5 euros for a taxi ride, make sure to check that your journey is within the 3 kms radius. Thankfully, the Whim app is clearly showing this. You will then select which taxi company you prefer. 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 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 public transportation and not needing 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 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 a few 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.
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 was piloting but it is not operating anymore.
Car Sharing services are competitors 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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