The Aviapolis area near the Helsinki Airport is the fastest growing international employment area in the Helsinki metropolitan area. There are good public transport services to the area thanks to, for example, the Ring Rail Line opened just over a year ago. However, a new challenge has emerged. Many of the 35,000 jobs in the area are not located right next to Aviapolis station and the last mile between the station and office is a problem for many.
“After the opening of the Ring Rail Line, many people living and working in the area contacted us. Although the area is already easily accessible by public transport, we wanted to make it easier to travel within the area,” says Ms Arja Luukki, the Vantaa City Project Manager for Aviapolis.
The City of Vantaa and Helsinki Business Hub took up the challenge and began to look for a solution to the problem. They invited various service providers to present their solutions for improving the accessibility of Aviapolis and promoting sustainable mobility in the area. Two services were selected: A shared-taxi service Vedia taxi and car-sharing service go now!. The pilot funded by the City of Vantaa and the Finnish Transport Agency will run from September until the end of the year.
HSL participates to the project. HSL is constantly looking for ways to attract new users to public transport.
“We have a positive approach to commercial transport services that support HSL’s trunk route network and the transport system and that can provide solutions to the last mile problem,” says Mr Kimmo Sinisalo, HSL Contract Manager.
Transport service providers can sign a partnership agreement with HSL that allows their services to be included into HSL’s loyalty scheme. HSL promotes its loyalty scheme via its own channels as well as by means of advertising.
Now people can use a shared taxi to get from Aviapolis station to their workplaces. The operating principle of Vedia taxi is simple. A mobile application combines the journeys of people going in the same direction, reducing the cost of the taxi ride for each individual passenger by up to 60%. For example, a ride from Aviapolis station to the Äyritie employment area costs about €3.40/person, if four people share the ride. The mobile application automatically charges the share of each passenger to their credit cards.
Go now! is a pay-per-minute car-sharing service now also available in the Aviapolis area. The service is available via a smart phone application around the clock. The eco-efficient hybrid cars of the service are available for use in Helsinki and Vantaa. The users do not need to worry about fuel or parking costs; all of that is included in the price. The mobile app shows the availability of cars in the different locations and cars can be easily picked up using the app.
“Go now! is a great complement to public transport. For example, you can pick up a car in Aviapolis outside your office and drive to a meeting in Helsinki. The journey costs about 20 euros. The prices of journeys within Vantaa start from a few euros. Up to five people can ride for the same price,” says Mr Matti Hänninen, the CEO of 24 Rental Network.
Both service providers will participate to an event presenting new mobility services taking place at Aviapolis station on the Car Free Day 22 September.
According to the Minister of Transport and Communications, new mobility services need to be easy to use, flexible and developed through wide-ranging cooperation.
“Aviapolis and its partners in cooperation are an excellent example of how to respond to user needs through broad-minded cooperation between the private sector and public transport authorities.
In addition, we need to change legislation,” says Minister Berner.
“The legislation must respond to the needs of consumers and service providers. The Transport Code project aims to create an operating environment in which technology, facilities and separate modes of transport no longer pose unnecessary barriers to users and companies.”
Helsinki Business Hub, a regional development agency funded by the cities of Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen as well as the Uusimaa Regional Council, has been involved in the pilot from the outset.
“Last year, together with the City of Vantaa, we started to look for new ways of finding new transport services for the area. Our role has mainly been to provide our expertise in intelligent transport and market knowledge to complement the industry knowledge of the City of Vantaa. Aviapolis is an extremely interesting area because of its rapid growth,” says Mr Tommi Rimpiläinen, senior business advisor at Helsinki Business Hub.
The planning of the pilot started at the end of 2015. At first, market dialogue was used to survey the various mobility service solutions available. Some ten possible operating models were identified. The City Council of Vantaa made the final decision on the services selected on 15 August 2016. The Finnish Transport Agency has funded the project with €50,000, while the City of Vantaa has granted €17,000.
The pilot started at the beginning of September and will run until the end of the year. Both of the new services have been first tested by test users.