Lessons From Helsinki's Failed On-Demand Bus Experiment

Kutsuplus—an attempt to "reinvent carpooling for the algorithm age"—has failed in Helsinki. What can new systems, still operating in the United States, learn from its example?

1 minute read

March 12, 2016, 1:00 PM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Four years ago, Helsinki launched an innovative bus service as part of a long-term plan to make cars irrelevant," according to an article by Ollie Sulopuisto. The Kutsuplus system, as it's called, was "the best-known component of Helsinki’s and Finland’s intelligent traffic system," yet it picked up its last passenger on December 31, 2015.

Noting that the model created by Kutsuplus has inspired similar operations in cities like New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Kansas City, Sulopuisto treats Kutsuplus as a case study for lessons that might benefit the systems that carry on its legacy. Some of the most significant issues raised by Kutsuplus, according to the article, relate to scale, subsidies, and sector. 

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