This past summer, Porvoo tried out a new concept for local tourism, the Archipelago Bus. The bus took passengers to Pellinki summer market, Porvoo city recreational area and Söderbyboden village shop every Saturday in July.

The aim of the trial was to find out whether there was demand for a more carbon-neutral concept such as the Archipelago Bus. The answer was yes.

– Judging by the utilisation rate for the Archipelago Bus and feedback from satisfied users, the trial was a great success. The trial shows that there clearly is a need for this type of service, says Project Manager Arto Varis.

 

Some 90% of users would recommend the Archipelago Bus

Feedback on the Archipelago Bus trial was collected during one of the trips.All respondents were either satisfied or very satisfied with the Pellinki trip, and 11 out of 12 said they would be fairly likely or very likely to recommend the Archipelago Bus to others.

The main reasons cited for trying out the Archipelago Bus were curiosity towards the new service, the ease of using the service and the desire to travel without a car. Twelve out of a total of thirteen respondents found the price reasonable, and all respondents were happy with the trip schedule.

Some passengers hoped to see more information about the Archipelago Bus on the City of Porvoo website, for example, or a tour guide telling passengers about the history of Pellinki. Some suggested more variation in the route and destinations.

Open-ended feedback was mainly positive: “This is a good way to pass the time for us pensioners – travel broadens the mind.” “Enjoyed the trip, thank you for organising this!” “Nice archipelago destination, wonderful and versatile summer market, and lovely Söderby! Please make this permanent!”

 

Students help develop the Archipelago Bus concept

Since this autumn, the project has collaborated with adult students at the Porvoo unit of Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences to develop the Archipelago Bus concept. As part of a course on Service Design, two student teams were divided into groups and asked to innovate ways to make the Archipelago Bus concept and the connected services even better for next year. The students presented their first ideas at Innocamp on 21 October.

All presentations raised the following points: The Archipelago Bus needs more marketing, and to make the trip a more well-rounded experience, an archipelago boat as well as changing routes and destinations with a few more extra programme activities might be a good idea. Extra programme suggested included fishing, bird watching, mushroom picking, winter swimming, family events and themed days celebrating food.

The students also suggested adding extra bus services during the summer peak season and before Christmas, as well as ready-made packages for e.g. school groups and work groups, guided tours, and an Archipelago Bus app for tracking the journey and for easier bookings.

Another point raised in the presentations given over the course of the evening was that Pellinki entrepreneurs would benefit from joining forces to create a coherent experience.

The Archipelago Bus concept will likely be developed further in the autumn and winter as students continue to work on their ideas and test them on different customer segments.

 

Archipelago Bus is part of the Happily project

The Archipelago Bus is part of the Happily project of Posintra, the development company of Eastern Uusimaa, which aims to promote resource efficiency, curb climate change and create new business opportunities through various digital solutions.

The project was carried out over the summer together with local entrepreneurs and the City of Porvoo. The bus was operated by Oy Kaj Forsblom Ab. Read our earlier bulletin about the Archipelago Bus.