Where can you find the perfect mobility solution?
SUBSCRIPTION POV #11
By Morten Suhr Hansen
At the time of writing this, I’m sitting in the backseat of a car going through the Austrian alps, on my way to our vacation spot in Tuscany. A couple of years ago, there would have been no reason to start an article with a triviality like this. But right now, Europe is opening after 15 months of lockdown, due to a pandemic. There are lots of cars on the road again and this was also the case in Denmark, in the days before our vacation. After a lengthy lockdown and a lot of working from home, we have regained our mobility. Once again, we are moving across cities and regions, when going to work or private appointments.
This is a good reason to focus on the many mobility solutions that tie together our work life and vacations. Also, in this aspect of life, we as consumers choose to relieve ourselves of ownership and instead, choose pay-as-you-go or subscription-based transportation solutions.
In Denmark, The Travel Card is irreplaceable and in larger cities, with Dribe, you can subscribe to a car instead of owning it and you can even use small, practical city-cars from ShareNow or GreenMobility. If you want your own bike, you can rent it with Swapfiets or you can make a short-term rental at Donkey Republic. Even the electric scooter was, until recently, a part of the abundance of mobility solutions.
Each one of these solutions works brilliantly. They are easy to use, without too many strings attached and they accommodate the increasing need to rent, not own. However, it feels like everyday life is getting more complicated, due to all these solutions that you have to subscribe and have access to. It also gets expensive, if you add up all of these subscriptions.
So, I’m dreaming of one complete transport solution for a guy like me, who doesn’t want to own his own car or bicycle. A solution that ties the different transportation forms together, so I would only have to register in one place. Preferably, a solution where I pay a fixed, monthly fee, allowing me to access all the different transportation devices when I need to. An all-you-can-go solution!
It sounds like a blissful utopia, but actually, it’s not. This concept already exists, however, not in Denmark or many other places in Europe.
If we go to the Finnish capital, Helsinki, since 2015, our Finnish friends have been able to use the service Whim as a one-stop shop for almost any available means of transport. The service combines all public transport with car rental from Sixt, taxi fares, bike rentals, and electric scooters.
With Whim, you can choose to pay separately for every fare or you can choose different, attractive subscription packages, so you know exactly what your monthly transportation cost is.
The most basic subscription costs 62,70 EUR a month and gives access to all public transport and electric scooters, as well as the opportunity to purchase short taxi fares for a fixed price of 12,50 EUR. Furthermore, subscribers get access to discounts on car and bike rentals. For students, this subscription costs only 34,40 EUR a month.
You also have the ability to go all-in with Whim, with a premium membership with (almost) unlimited access to all means of transport. The price is 699 EUR a month and subscribers have access to unlimited public transportation, unlimited rental of cars in the Ford Fiesta class, and 80 monthly taxi fares of up to 5 kilometers. To this comes free access to city bikes and electric scooters, as well as the opportunity to rent larger cars at a favorable price.
Naturally, Whim includes a travel planner that recommends which transportation devices that will get you from A to B most efficiently.
Almost 700 EUR a month, is obviously a very steep price, however, this subscription correlates with a leasing agreement for a car in the VW Golf class. And you should note that this is without parking, which can be a costly affair in most capitals, like Copenhagen.
It is not only the Finns that can make use of this intelligent mobility solution from Whim. The company behind the service, MaaS Global, has established similar services in Austria, Switzerland, The Netherlands, and Belgium. Let’s hope that the rest of Europe will soon be added to the list, or that already existing mobility operators in the rest of Europe will come together to offer an easier solution for consumers to move around efficiently.
The story of Whim and the many different solutions that we have in Denmark draws a picture that is not uncommon when talking about the subscription movement. An unbalance between the consumer’s demand on one side and the supply from companies on the other. The demand for convenient and flexible subscription solutions is almost endless and companies are struggling to keep up. The winners will be the companies that manage to move quickly and radically.