MaaS comes to Midlands

nextbike, the world’s most extensive bikeshare provider, has signed a partnership with mobility app Whim which will see the UK’s first Mobility as a Service (MaaS) trial take place in the West Midlands.

The trial, set for the autumn, will enable Midlanders to plan, book and pay for journeys with an app, with the aim of reducing 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. ‘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.

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 that have so far signed up to the pilot under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) include National Express, SilverRail, Birmingham City Council, car hire firm Enterprise and taxi provider Gett.