Kutsuplus is a new service getting going in the streets of Helsinki, Finland's capitol and largest city.
Instead of buses plying a set schedule, Kutsuplus is a more personalized service implemented by the Helsinki Regional Transport Authority (HSL): users register and set up a trip 'wallet', then choose pick up and destination spots based on city addresses or pre-existing stops.
Like other private taxi or pick up services, Kutsuplus is made to allow users a bit more flexibility in city traveling but with a lower price point. Through a smart phone app, a user can set a departure time just minutes in the future. The app issues a ticket after withdrawing money from the wallet, and draws a walking map to the departure stop. \\
The heart of Kutsuplus is an algorithm that determines the most direct route for passengers' requested rides and groups together passengers going in the same general direction.
Similar to taxis, the ride price is calculated on a set fee plus per kilometer charge. So for a Kutsuplus ride of three kilometers, the charge would be Euro 3.5 for the base price plus Euro 1.35 for the three kilometers. This is more than a bus ride (which average about 2 - 4 Euros) but less than a taxi.
Ten Kutsuplus buses are currently trawling the streets of Helsinki, with 35 more planned for the near future. During the pilot project, the buses will run from 7.30 a.m. until 6.30 p.m.
The best part of Kutsuplus is that you can predetermine your route instead of the status quo with public transport, which is trying to fit your individual destination to a pre-existing route. Kutsuplus is another way for city dwellers to have mobility options without having to own a car.
The system's mini buses accommodate 9 passengers, and space is available for baby strollers. There's also free wifi onboard.