BP Mobile App to Bundle Transportation Options
Platform includes access to rental cars, taxis and other modes
While the car rental industry on these shores is harnessing their technological know-how to take on the challenges that come with an unpredictable economy and an increasingly fickle and younger demographic, they’ve gone to great lengths to make a wide series of options available to its customer base. The bold move towards internet connectivity has helped a great deal to boost customer convenience, gather valuable marketing data and cut down on inefficiencies eroding its bottom line. That said, one enterprise in Europe is taking it a step further.
Energy conglomerate BP (British Petroleum) announced earlier in November that it is investing more than $11 million into Finnish tech firm Whim to develop an app that would consolidate a plethora of public and private transportation options in London.
Once operational and pending whether it’ll be a hit with Londoners, the big winners will include the likes of car rental companies, taxi services and even those double decker buses that could benefit from its presence on such a juggernaut app. The big losers? Automakers and their support industries, who could wind up producing fewer vehicles if the app becomes popular enough to entice users to drop any reasons to own a car.
The Whim app has been in service in Helsinki since 2017 and already the stats are showing increases in rental car, bicycle and public transport activity, with fewer vehicles leaving the garage. According to one report by MaaS Global, the company that owns Whim, the prognosis for future use of the Whim app could cut down on car commutes by up to 38 percent. That said, the report didn’t track private vehicle activity as part of its findings.
In much the same way car rental companies like Enterprise and Avis make consumer choices conveniently available on all their mobile apps, the Whim app bundles all transportation options into one digital package that enables users to pick their mode of getting around. Its pricing model ranges from a pay-as-you-go feature to a monthly subscription available for around US$550.
“Whim is super convenient,” said Roy Williamson, BP’s vice president for advanced mobility. “It takes the hassle out of planning travel, taking on board users’ preferences and connecting and booking their ideal transport choices.”
Other European cities being targeted by Whim include Antwerp, Birmingham and Vienna. At this point, no plans are in place to introduce the service in North America.