Midlands chosen for futuristic transport trial

nextbike, the world’s most extensive bikeshare provider, today announced a revolutionary partnership with mobility app Whim which will see the UK’s first mobile transport trial take place in the West Midlands.

MaaS – short for Mobility as a Service – seamlessly combines a variety of transport services to enable customers to use bikes, buses, trains and taxis within the same scheme to reach their destination.

The trial, set for the autumn, will enable Midlanders to plan, book and pay for their journey 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.

nextbike’s UK MD Julian Scriven said:

“We are in a golden age of transport and this is an incredibly exciting development,”

“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.

MaaS Global’s CXO and Co-founder Kaj Pyyhtiä said:

“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,” 

“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.”

“We went out to the market and used our relationships with operators and authorities to bring this partnership together,”

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.

Mr Scriven said the move underlined nextbike’s commitment to working hand-in-hand with councils and stakeholders to develop cleaner transport infrastructure.

The company, founded in Leipzig in 2004 and with more than 120 projects around the globe, including eight in Britain, recently announced that 200,000 bicycles would be introduced across Europe as it looks to cement its position as the leading operator.

The roster of countries where nextbike is on the streets include Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Dubai, Hungary, Latvia, New Zealand, Poland, Switzerland, Turkey, the United States, Saudi Arabia and Ukraine.

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