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Connecting the Mobility World

#2 Whim – User experience: 10 MaaS applications scrutinized

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© Whim
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With more than 70,000 users two years after its commercial launch, Whim is considered one of the forerunners of Mobility as a Service. Developed in 2016 by the Finnish company MaaS Global, it is currently one of the most advanced MaaS solutions in terms of both functionality and offerings. Different experiences in one application.

A “multimodal” experience, allowing the reservation of a single mode of transportation among several alternatives. The “intermodal” experience, which aims to propose the best door-to-door trip via the calculator. The “ticketing” experience, offering direct access to the purchase of transport tickets. And finally, the “subscription” experience, including the subscription to advantageous bundles. Four ways to consume mobility. Focus on the UX design of this application, described as the “Netflix of mobility”. An analysis from our comparative analysis.

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1. Multimodal: A dozen integrated operators

Through its extensive network of partners, Whim has managed to aggregate the booking of different transportation offers in Helsinki and its surroundings. Users can plan, book and pay for nearly a dozen different modes of transportation. Six monomodal paths offering access to the following modes of transportation:

  • The public transport, HSL
  • The Suomenlinna ferries
  • Regional trains in some areas
  • The electric scooters, Tier or Voi
  • The self-service bicycles, Juro or Kaupunki-pyarat
  • The cabs, Taksi Helsinki, Lähitaksi or Menevä
  • Car-sharing services in stations
  • And finally, the rental car Hertz, Sixt or Toyota Rent a Car

A multiplication of the offer favored by a legislative framework in Finland, imposing from 2018 the opening of the distribution systems of all the actors of private and public mobility. Indeed, the transportation offer on Whim is deeply integrated. In other words, reservations and payments are made directly on the application. This practicality avoids the need for deeplinks. The MaaS provider is looking to achieve this goal in order to offer a truly seamless experience.

Governed by the “commercial integrator” model, Whim is continually looking to evolve its offering. One of the four governance models defined by the UITP (International Association of Public Transport). In this model, it is the private company MaaS Global that develops and finances almost all the costs and risks associated with the service. This model can be easily replicated in other cities and countries, such as the Whim solution, which is also present in Turku (Finland), Vienna (Austria), Greater Tokyo (Japan), Antwerp (Belgium) and Switzerland. To discover the other three governance models, please consult our following guide.

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An offer available from the home page (discovery)…

Like Moovizy, Whim has chosen the interactive map as the central element of its home. The user thus has access to an exhaustive view of the transportation offer. With the possibility of displaying only public transport (buses, trains, etc.), scooters, cabs, and car rentals. With the possibility of filtering them without having to go through the route planner, as shown in the diagram below.

2. Intermodal: Planning trips on a national scale!

By integrating passenger information from national trains and long-distance bus lines, Whim extends its coverage beyond the Finnish capital. Indeed, the user can plan a trip from Helsinki to Northern Finland seamlessly! When searching, the user has the choice of planning a trip for an immediate departure or for a later departure. The results are then displayed in the form of “banners”, informing about the travel time, the departure time, the arrival time and the modes of transport to use. A display that facilitates the comparison of the different trip suggestions, with the possibility of displaying the details.

Intermodal trips that are payable in full only when they include HSL public transportation and certain regional trains. To take your intermodal experience one step further, check out our guide.

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3. Ticketing: Purchase on Whim of HSL tickets

Thanks to its direct access to the HSL distribution system, Whim allows its users to integrate a digitalized ticketing system. No more need for the magnetic card, the Moovizy application becomes the precious sesame. Compatibility between the different terminals and media is made possible by “the cEMV standard, an international security standard for contactless payment cards issued by Apple/Google Pay”. The application’s user path depends on the ticketing system already in place by the public transport operator. Three basic cEMV models defined by UK Card Association :

single-tap-paYment-transport
Single tap

In this first model, the user validates his support (card or smartphone) at the beginning of each new trip. No fare calculation. He will be automatically debited with a fixed amount, known in advance.

double-tap-payment-transport
Double tap

This second model offers more flexibility in terms of pricing. Indeed, the user is billed precisely for the trip made thanks to the double-tap system at the entrance and exit of the transport network.

pre-purchase-payment-transport
Pre-purchase

In the latter model, the user must purchase a ticket before the trip. A model that offers a wider view of the public transport or train offer.

In the case of Whim, it is the latest model of Pre-purchase that has been favored. The user can buy tickets per unit or valid for 1 to 9 days. Tickets range in price from €2.80 to €5.70 per unit, depending on the coverage areas below.

4. Subscription: All-in-one” packages

Last but not least… The only MaaS application of level 3, Whim stands out by offering different multimodal packages. These “bundles” are adapted to both the occasional and loyal traveler. Indeed, it offers the possibility to subscribe to subscriptions ranging from the “Voi package 30 minutes” at €6.99 per month or the “HSL 30 days tickets” at €62.70. Different packages giving the user access to “Whim Benefits” (discounts and special offers on other modes of transport). Packages encouraging users to use more environmentally friendly transport. Whim users make approximately the same number of trips as Helsinkians and use public transport more often. According to Ramboll’s “Whimpact” study, 63% of Whim users use public transport, compared to only 25% of the inhabitants of the Finnish capital.

Finally, for the travelers who want great flexibility, they can choose the “Whim Unlimited” subscription. For an amount fixed in advance, it provides unlimited access to several modes of transport. Starting at €699.00, the package includes unlimited bus tickets, 80 cab rides of less than 5 kilometers, unlimited 30-minute bike rides, and car rentals for up to 30 days. These different packages can be found directly via the home page or my account on the application.

Overview of the Whim’s user experience

To discover the different UX approaches, don’t hesitate to consult
our complete benchmark of the 10 MaaS applications.
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