Finnish company MaaS Global announced that its mobility app Whim will debut in the U.S. later this year, reported TechCrunch.
Whim will launch in one of the following five cities: Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, or Miami. In addition to the U.S., MaaS Global also plans to launch Whim in Singapore. The app is currently available in Antwerp, the U.K., Helsinki, and Vienna.
Whim features subscription options for public transportation, ride-sharing, bike rentals, scooter rentals, taxi-hailing, and car rentals. You can pick a pay-as-you-go option if you want to try it out and only occasionally travel. However, the high-tier option with unlimited access to the aforementioned services costs 500 euros per month.
The high tier’s price is nothing to sneeze at, but MaaS Global CEO Sampo Hietanen takes a different perspective on things. Hietanen claims that “cars take 70 percent of the market,” yet are used only four percent of the time. With Whim, you’re paying for the optional capacity, the CEO says. Ideally, that should lead to reduced transportation costs and emissions.
MaaS Global uses APIs to connect the app to service providers’ infrastructure. For example, MaaS Global partnered with Hertz, Enterprise, and EuropeCar for car rentals. Available ride-sharing services include Gett and local European taxi companies.
With such an all-encompassing service, MaaS Global has a real chance to take on the likes of Uber and Lyft. It also has a real chance to upset those who argue that ride-sharing services only add to road congestion.