MaaS expands to Helsinki archipelago transport. Getting to know the archipelago in Helsinki is now easier than ever before when an island-hopping ticket can for the first time be bought directly in the Whim application. The September pilot project tests the opening of ticket sales interfaces.
The coronavirus spring caused a demand spike for nature destinations in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. Helsinki wants to advance ecological short-haul travel and make it uncomplicated. The city wants to make us of its marine location and the opportunities offered by it, among other things, by making visits to the island destinations and the use of services there fluent for the city residents and tourists alike.
Digital services offer new possibilities in this regard. In the pilot project in September, water transport tickets are for the first time made a part of the other travel chains by means of an open interface. The implementation is a collaboration between the city of Helsinki’s innovation company Forum Virium Helsinki, strategy, design, and technology company Reaktor, Whim developer MaaS Global, JT-Line and CRD Systems, as well as the Helsinki culture and leisure division.
The way is paved by JT-Line's Island Hopping ticket, which is bought in the Whim app. The traveller can buy the ticket using a familiar app, without the need to find a ticket sales channel for each route. The route runs from the Market Square to Vallisaari, Suomenlinna, Lonna and back to the Market Square. In the future, there will be more routes, ticket types and applications, if the pilot project is deemed a success.
“The goal of Helsinki's Maritime Strategy is to expand the marine territory of the Helsinki residents and make the islands increasingly accessible. Easier acquisition of tickets is part of a more fluent water transport. In the future, the marine nature should be as accessible as the nearby park is with the tram”, says Project Manager for the Helsinki Maritime Strategy Minttu Perttula.
The city of Helsinki is also investing in other maritime digital services. These new offerings include the electronic Ahti service, which compiles the most interesting maritime services from saunas to rental boats, and the electronic boat trial in Vartiosaari.
Helsinki a pinnacle city for development of transport-related MaaS
In the development of new services, Helsinki’s ambition is to act as a test platform, where it is possible to run service trials and pilot projects for the city residents and create new business activities for the companies. Even at the international level, Helsinki has been made a pinnacle city for the development of MaaS, or Mobility-as-a-service.
“Our goal all along has been to provide Finns with as diverse a range as possible of transport services. I am really happy that we have now been able to include the archipelago ferries in our service. Our aim is to expand the service next summer, when maritime transport is very topical due to, for example, the Helsinki Biennial”, says Jarkko Jaakkola, Area Manager of MaaS Global Finland.
Archipelago traffic MaaS pilot project furthers technical and commercial prerequisites for new services
“In the development of new digital city services, it is extremely important to quickly start collecting experiences from everyday life and test new business models together with the city and the companies. Reaktor’s and MaaS Global's agile entry and the utilisation of open code allowed us to move quickly from concept to practice and the development-friendly attitude of the operators has been decisive. We are eagerly waiting to see how the city residents receive this”, says city of Helsinki innovation company Forum Virium Helsinki’s Development Director Pekka Koponen.
The pilot project has resulted in an open interface solution and the city’s objective is to engage the other archipelago traffic operators to open their interfaces and outline the possibilities to use data. Koponen emphasises that the companies that are passionate about goal-oriented collaboration hold a key role in the construction of a vital ecosystem.
“The chain of operators and services now make it possible, for example, to sell tickets, food and culture services together. In the future, a traveller from another part of the world can make the bookings flexibly in advance using a phone. The development of digital services in society is a natural passion for Reaktor, and in the context of this project, technology is combined with sustainable development and the broader utilisation of Helsinki's marvellous archipelago,” says Peter Lindberg, Business Development Director at Reaktor.
In the pilot project implementation, MaaS Global’s Whim application calls CRD Systems’ ticket system interface through the integration layer implemented by Reaktori. The traffic operator JT-Line was selected for the pilot project due to the Vallisaari connection that it operates this summer. The Helsinki Biennial will be arranged on Vallisaari in the summer of 2021.
The Whim application update that brings the new ticket product is available in Apple Store and Google Play until the end of the water transport season on 27 September.