THE first mobile transport trial will take place in the West Midlands, thanks to agreement between bikeshare provider nextbike, mobility app Whim, and Transport for Midlands.
The trial, set for the autumn, will enable Midlanders to plan, book and pay for their journey with an app.
The aim is to reduce the need for people to drive into the city centres.
The project will be overseen by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), an executive body of the West Midlands Combined Authority.
“We are in a golden age of transport and this is an incredibly exciting development,” said nextbike’s UK MD Julian Scriven (below right).
“nextbike is delighted to be playing its part in such a significant pilot which hopes to revolutionise the way people access transport across the West Midlands region.
“If we are to reduce congestion in cities and improve the environment we have to make the most of an integrated transport framework.”
This will be the first MaaS pilot to take place outside of the Finnish capital Helsinki, where Maas Global launched the Whim app last year.
“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,” said MaaS Global’s CXO and Co-founder Kaj Pyyhtiä.
“Already, the more ecological and healthy modes of transportation are very interesting to our customers. The demand for services such as bike sharing is growing significantly in every large city. We are happy to cooperate with the leading bikeshare provider in the world.”
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TfWM’s managing director Laura Shoaf said the pilot would give Midlanders a vision of the future.
“You pay one price and you get a seamless journey. This might involve using a black cab to the train station, and then, when you get off the train, unlocking a hire bike to continue to your destination.”
Other partners also looking to become involved in the MaaS excercise Include:
- National Express
- Birmingham City Council
- Gett taxi provider
Mr Scriven said the move underlined nextbike’s commitment to working closely with councils and stakeholders to develop a transport infrastructure that was cleaner on the environment.
nextbike was founded in Leipzig in 2004 and has in excess of 120 projects around the globe, including eight in Britain. The company plans to introduce 200,000 further bicycles across Europe.
What’s the Whim app?
The mobility app Whim allows you to travel where and when you wish. All routes, fees, tickets, timetables, booking and travel options are in one place.
Users choose a monthly package to cover all daily journeys, or simply pay-as-you-go.