HSL’s on-demand ride-sharing service produced satisfied customers but the utilization rate was low

The on-demand ride service pilot run by HSL and ViaVan in winter 2019/2020 received top ratings from users in a customer survey. However, the utilization rate of the service was low.

The on-demand service operated in eastern Espoo from September 2019 to March 2020. During the six-month period, 1,703 customers used the service, making a total of just short of 18,000 journeys. 

However, the utilization rate of the vehicles employed was low: the service averaged 1.8 rides per vehicle per hour. 

The aim of the service was to provide solutions to the so called last mile problem, with public transport supplemented by an on-demand service taking passengers right to their destination. 

“The pilot provided us with understanding of customers needs. However, it also made it clear that providing economically viable and cost-competitive on-demand transport is still extremely challenging and would require a higher utilization rate,” says Tero Anttila, the Director of HSL Public Transport Department. 

The service received top ratings from customers 

Customer satisfaction with the on-demand ride service was extremely high. The rating given by the users was as high as 4.3 on a scale of one to five. At 63, the NPS score, which measures the willingness of customers to recommend the servicewas excellent. 

When asked what service features are important, customers mentioned a wider service area and the possibility to book a ride not only just before departure but also 30 to 60 minutes before departure.  

The service was most used for commuting in the morning as well as in the afternoon and early evening. The most common journey purposes were commuting and personal business journeys. About a third of the journeys started or ended at a metro or commuter train station. A total of 41 per cent of respondents said they had combined on-demand rides with public transport often or occasionally.  

The ride service was the winner of the IdeaLab competition  

The on-demand ride service was one of the winners in the 2018 IdeaLab competition organized by HSL. The aim of the competition was to find new innovations for mobility services in the future. ViaVan, alongside the other winner, an electric scooter service which operated in Vuosaari in summer 2019, were both granted 500,000 euros to run the service.  

Read the report on the pilot project okeilun raportti (PDF) and see the results of the customer survey (Excel).