Kutsuplus – new transport service now available for all
HSL has launched a new kind of demand-responsive bus service
based on a fully automated booking and control system. Since last
October, Kutsuplus has been tested by a limited number of
“Kutsuplus supplements HSL’s public transport services
offering an alternative to, for example, public crosstown journeys
by public transport involving transfers and to car journeys. At
present, there are ten Kutsuplus buses but the idea is to increase
the number of vehicles as demand grows," says HSL’s Executive
Directive Suvi Rihtniemi.
According to studies and simulations, the service becomes the
more effective the higher the number of vehicles and passengers.
Rides are booked at kutsuplus.fi, and they are paid for in
advance using a Trip Wallet. Customers can load money to their Trip
Wallets via online payment. Now that the service is open to all
customers, the normal price of a ride comprises a basic price of
EUR 3.50 plus an additional charge of EUR 0.45 per kilometer. The
Kutsuplus buses mainly run in the area south of Ring Road I, with
the eastern border lying just east of the Viikki Campus.
The test phase of Kutsuplus began on 1 October 2012 with a
limited number of passengers. The number of users has been
gradually increased. Feedback from the test users has been
encouraging and the users have also provided a wealth of
development ideas. For example, many users have wished for
Kutsuplus applications for smart phones. At present, rides can be
booked only with a browser.
The usability of the booking system and vehicle equipment
have already been improved on the basis of feedback from drivers
and passengers. Also, new features have been introduced such as a
group discount, friend invitation, and a shared Trip Wallet for
companies and families.
During the trial phase, the buses served a couple of
hundred bus stops. At present, all about one thousand bus stops in
the area are included in the service so that rides can be booked
from any stop to any stop within the service area. Virtual stops
are defined in places where normal bus stops do not serve
passengers' needs well enough.
The development of the Kutsuplus service continues. Several
new features will be tested in future and the ones customers find
most useful will become permanent. For example, real-time passenger
information will be developed.
HSL, the Finnish Transport Agency and Aalto University have
been developing the new public transport service since 2007.The
intelligent transport system, on which the service is based, is
developed by Ajelo Oy, a company established by a group of
researchers from Aalto University.