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Budget bus services planned Helsinki-Tampere, Helsinki-Turku

The Tampere-based budget bus company Onnibus Oy is applying for permits to offer services on two new routes, Tampere-Hämeenlinna-Helsinki and Raisio-Turku-Helsinki. The company says that as of next summer, passengers can travel, for example, from Hämeenlinna to Helsinki or Tampere for only three euros.

Image: YLE / Antti Kolppo

The new routes are the result of new EU mass transit legislation which will be gradually introducing more liberal regulation of the transport market by 2019.

The CEO of Onnibus Oy, Pekka Möttö, is hopeful about the future of his company, as its start has been so successful. Passenger figures on a route it operates between Tampere and Pori have exceeded all expectations.

"Onnibus has a realistic goal of expanding to become the leading player in the long-distance bus travel market. The whole sector at undergoing an historic transformation," says Pekka Möttö.

Franchise tempts independents

Onnibus Oy is aiming at creating a national network of independent operators in which it is only the coordinator. The concept is a franchising-style set-up under which entrepreneurs share a brand and joint marketing.

"In practice, Onnibus will be the thing that will make 98 percent of Finnish bus companies long-term, profitable ventures," Möttö claims.

Lower prices are possible by setting balancing price and demand.

"In this sector, it is not possible to lower costs, Our idea is to improve profits through sensible pricing."

Public services costly

Möttö says that the biggest problem in public transport is that the vast majority of passengers get some kind of discount on tickets.

"Public transport is an alternative for those who get a discount. For those who don't get a discount, owning a car costs only half as much," according to Pekka Möttö.

Onnibus plans are for tickets for all destinations on its routes to cost 3 euros if purchased online, but to go as high as 15 euros if there is high demand. All tickets bought onboard from the driver will cost 15 euros.

The company is looking to open four new routes in June.

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