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HSL orders Kutsuplus shutdown

Helsinki’s Kutsuplus service, which mixes elements of taxi and public transport services, is to shut down at the end of this year. The service was too expensive for the regional transport authority—but may return if a private sector partner can be found.

Helsingissä toimiva KutsuPlus on eräänlainen taksin ja bussin välimuoto.
Helsingissä toimiva KutsuPlus on eräänlainen taksin ja bussin välimuoto. Image: Yle

The Helsinki region’s Kutsuplus service will shut down at the end of 2015. The expected decision was made on cost grounds, as the regional transport authority HSL saw the service as too expensive in light of small passenger numbers.

HSL is owned by its member municipalities—Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Kirkkonummi, Kauniainen and Kerava. The Kutsuplus service only ran in areas close to central Helsinki.

Project manager Kari Rissanen told Yle that four groups were interested in the service. The service could be saved, according to HSL, if a private operator could be found to take over, but that there are “technical and financial” conditions that would prevent that happening by the start of the year.

HSL expects the service to be out of action for at least a year while a new entrepreneurial operator is found. The transport authority has said that customers with unused credit will be compensated.

The idea for Kutsuplus came during a research project at Aalto University eight years ago. The first pilot started in 2010, and the current incarnation has been in use for a year and a half. The software is some of the most advanced ‘smart public transport’ programmes in the world.

Up until the end of October, some 81,000 journeys had been made with Kutsuplus, with year-on-year growth of 60 percent.

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