Final report on the Kutsuplus trial: work to develop ride-pooling worth continuing
The Kutsuplus ride-pooling service gained popularity among users and received interest also outside Finland over the three years of its operation. However, the financial profitability of the service did not increase along with the popularity. According to the final report on the Kutsuplus service terminated at the end of 2015, the trial proved that there is a range of possibilities for intelligent, automated demand-responsive transport, provided the appropriate implementation approach is found.
"Smoothness and flexibility of shared journeys as well as ease of payment and use increase demand. Demand for cost-effective transport services responsive to individual travel needs continues to increase. In future, packages may consist of much more than simply rides, such as holiday and event transport including entrance fees,” says the Kutsuplus Project Manager Kari Rissanen from HSL.
In Helsinki, Kutsuplus proved a competitive alternative for privately owned and leased cars. According to customer surveys, Kutsuplus benefited many people by saving time spent on travel, searching for a parking space and car maintenance. The service was a welcome addition particularly to crosstown transport links.
At the end of the trial, the service had over one thousand stops supplemented by virtual stops. However, the number of cars did not increase from the 15 cars used in the trial due to lack of funding.
At the end of 2015, the HSL Executive Board decided to discontinue the service due to the poor economic situation of the municipalities. HSL commissioned a study to look for a market-driven way to implement the service. As a number of intelligent transport functions were developed and tested together with customers during the trial, the most should be made of all the lessons learned and innovations developed.
In addition to HSL, the participants to the trial included the software developer Split Finland OY (previously known as Ajelo Oy), Aalto University and the Finnish Transport Agency. The Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation TEKES, Helsinki City Innovation Fund, Helsinki City Transport and the Ministry of Transport and Communications supported the trial.