Car ownership divides opinions: flexibility draws people to use a car, pollution and price drive them away

By Whim • December 17, 2021

At the end of 2021, MaaS Global sent out a survey asking our Whim users to share their views on car ownership. The survey was done for the second time, and this year we got 384 responses from users who have used Whim in Finland. This and the Back to Work survey that was sent out in August helped us gather data on how our users like to travel.

Gathering data helps MaaS Global constantly develop Whim so that it serves its customers even better in the future. Essential for this kind of work is anonymous location data that is collected directly from the app and which helps us understand our users’ travel habits. In addition to this, we gather data by asking our users directly about their mobility needs as well as their spending habits when it comes to mobility.

Owning a car divides opinions among users

According to the responses, car owners and carless users are quite equally divided: 56% have access to one or more cars in their household, 44% do not. For car owners and carless users alike, flexibility is on top of the descriptions when asked what a car means to them, and for car owners the added value of saved time and availability at any time are important aspects of why they choose a car.

However, most carless users (71%) reported that public transport is enough in the area they live in, and 42% say maintaining a car is too expensive for it to be a reasonable purchase. So interestingly for both groups cars mean first and foremost flexibility and availability, but those without a car also see it as most of all a great expense (38.2%) and secondly as a source of pollution (23.5%). Of all users, 14% associate cars with pollution, and 19% of those without a car state the reason is at least partly the want to protect the climate.

Effects of Covid-19 on mobility

Covid-19 has increased the sales of used cars, but of our respondents only 7.9% of car owners and 6.5% of carless users said they were considering buying one or more cars in the future. All in all, 12.5% of both groups reported that Whim has helped them either get rid of a car or avoid purchasing one. This is a drop from last year’s figures when Whim helped 24% of its users, but considering the effects the pandemic has had, the decrease was expected. However, Whim has helped a big group of its users to get rid of or avoid purchasing a car even in difficult circumstances.

All of MaaS Global’s actions are based on sustainability, and we want to offer a better alternative for a private car. Our mission is to replace 1,000,000 cars with Whim subscriptions by 2030, and we continue to develop more sustainable modes of travel, to increase the understanding of the effects mobility has and how to make better choices with the data we gather.