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MaaS provider launches Midlands trial

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Mobility as a Service app ‘Whim’ launched for trials in Birmingham and the West Midlands last week and has announced a new partnership with bike sharing provider Nextbike.

The app, developed by Finnish start up company MaaS Global, combines transport services to allow customers to make multi-modal journeys using bikes, buses, trains and taxis.

The solution allows users to plan their route as well as book and pay for tickets. Among its key aims is to encourage mode shift by reducing the need for people to drive into city centres.

Trials in the West Midlands – which will involve an initial 500 customers – follow initial success with the scheme in Helsinki where it launched last year. The app could go live for access by all West Midlanders as early as this autumn.

In addition to Nextbike MaaS Global has secured partnerships with UK transport operators including National Express West Midlands, SilverRail and car hire firm Enterprise.

“In our vision, Whim not only provides people convenient access to all modes of transportation – it will enable them to make better choices in regards to how we move,” commented MaaS Global’s co-founder Kaj Pyyhtiä.

On the new partnership with Nextbike he added: “The demand for such services as bike sharing is growing significantly in every large city. We are happy to cooperate with the leading bikeshare provider in the world.”

Nextbike’s UK managing director Julian Scriven said: “We are in a golden age of transport and this is an incredibly exciting development. Nextbike is delighted to be playing its part in such a significant move which hopes to revolutionise the way people access transport.”

“If we are to reduce congestion in cities and improve the environment we have to make the most of an integrated transport framework. This move underlines Nextbike’s commitment to working hand in hand with councils and stakeholders to develop cleaner transport infrastructure.”