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Helsinki Aims To Obviate Private Cars

Soulskill posted about 4 months ago | from the start-what-you-finnish dept.

Transportation 276

New submitter NBSCALIDBA writes: Eeva Haaramo reports on Helsinki's ambitious plan to transform city transportation. From on-demand buses to city bikes to Kutsuplus mini-transport vans, the Finnish capital is trying to change the whole concept of getting around in a city. "Under the plan, all these services will be accessed through a single online platform. People will be able to buy their transport in service packages that work like mobile phone tariffs: either as a complete monthly deal or pay as you go options based on individual usage. Any number of companies can use the platform to offer transport packages, and if users find their travel needs change, they'll be able to switch packages or moved to a rival with a better deal."

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which turns transport into a monopoly... (-1, Troll)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 4 months ago | (#47713929)

count me out... this sort of stuff just makes me want to live on a remote tropical island and spend my days fishing.

Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47713967)

the roads are a monopoly too. come on, move already !

Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (4, Interesting)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 4 months ago | (#47714069)

Sure, but not the cars, taxis, buses, etc.

I'll never live anywhere that won't let me have a car or where for whatever reason cars are uneconomical. I just refuse to live like that. Some people like living in cities where only mass transit is practical. I really don't see why people pack themselves in that tightly. What is the point of doing that in the 21st century. In the pre-digital pre-airplane world I could see the point. But today? Why...

It makes no sense. Spread out, people. Its a big world. Doesn't anyone want to listen to music without having to worry about whether the neighbors will object? Doesn't anyone want a dog or a garden or just some space that is theirs?

I think the big cities are anachronisms at this point. I don't see why we bother with them. With the right communications we could run the same economy with employees distributed across the country pretty much where ever they wanted to live.

This is not an attack on cities... if you really like living cheek by jowl with people then by all means... pack yourself in. It just seems there are increasing problems with the idea.

Security/crime issues, education issues, political issues, transport issues, economic issues... just lots of stuff. I'm sure it has good qualities but I don't see how the pros outweigh the cons for any but the enthusiast.

Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47714127)

from TFS

Any number of companies can use the platform to offer transport packages

This will be similar to taxis it seems, government set rates, private companies doing it.

Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47714129)

"I really don't see why people pack themselves in that tightly. "

It's the herd instinct. It's strong in most people.

Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (5, Insightful)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 4 months ago | (#47714201)

I question whether that is a real thing. If you consider our history, we didn't live in anything like this density. What is more, instinctually we have no bond with practically anyone in the city. They're just faces. They mean nothing to you. You don't know who they are and they have no lasting impact on your life. Any one of those faces could die tomorrow and you wouldn't even notice.

So tell me again about this herding instinct because it frankly sounds like bullshit.

Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (5, Insightful)

AcidPenguin9873 (911493) | about 4 months ago | (#47714437)

Many times, the economics of "fun" things that people enjoy only work out if there are enough people in a small geographic area. You can't have a football team without enough people to fill a stadium every week, and you don't get that many people without them living in a large-ish city where that football team plays. Any one person going to a football game certainly knows almost none of the other people going, but they're necessary to make the game happen at all. Same for music. Bands aren't going to play a show out in the sticks where they can't fill a medium-size venue. These cultural things are what draw people to live in a city instead of in the sticks, even if their job could be done from anywhere. Ditto for art galleries, parks, recreational sports leagues. Even though one of those faces could die tomorrow and you wouldn't notice, if most of them died, you certainly would because you wouldn't have enough people to do those things.

Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47714703)

I don't watch sports, but if I did it would probably be streamed anyway. If I want do to anything related to sports, I'd rather to it myself than simply watch it anyway.

For music, my favorite authors are in Japan and I buy their music from the Internet. I also prefer to limit how many decibels enter my ears. It seems like everyone going to live music shows are deaf or something. And I wasn't anywhere close to the speakers either. I went once, never again.

Art can be displayed on my devices. With IPS and HiDPI becoming more common technologies, I can't say I would miss going somewhere just to see something in more details, because you usually can't go near the artwork anyway.

Parks are better in small cities because there's less air pollution, less light pollution, less noise pollution. You can usually drive for less than 30 minutes and you're right in the middle of nature too if you want to.

What could work is splitting our urbanisation into circles. Farming area on the outer ring, living area on the middle ring, commercial area in the middle ring.

Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (2)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 4 months ago | (#47714719)

In the US, professional football is actually sustained by television... not stadium attendance. What is more, you have many teams in small cities or even towns that do quite well.

The Green Bay Packers for example are based in Green Bay Wisconsin... which has a population of about 100,000.

So there you go... football team... at 100,000... now explain why you need to have 15 million people in the same place?

As to bands and other entertainment venues, you can't be telling me you live in the city to go to music concerts and football games.

For one thing, you could commute for that sort of thing. Consider the motorcycle conventions. People ride them from hundreds if not thousands of miles away just to all show up in the same place and have a convention. They could do it anywhere. One of the bigger ones "Sturgis" happens in Sturgis south Dakota every year and draws about half a MILLION people every year. Guess what the population of Sturgis is normally? About six thousand.

So I call bunk on your whole notion. It makes no sense. I know a lot of people that live in New York and they never go to plays, theater, shows, concerts, or anything. They just live there. And what portion of that city's population do you think actually does any of that stuff? A small fraction of the population does a lot of it. That and tourists. But most of the people that actually live there? Not so much.

Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47714445)

Exactly that reason, you don't know them and you don't care, they are meat shields. If 1 or 10 or 100 random people stuff it one day it won't affect you since you likely won't know them, now the same thing happening in a small community of closely knit families? Major tragedy.

Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (5, Interesting)

unimacs (597299) | about 4 months ago | (#47714443)

Have you ever lived in a city?

I do. I have a yard and two dogs. Once in awhile we plant a garden. I can even play music. Plus I can walk to local bakeries, breweries, restaurants, hardware stores, beaches, parks, etc.

A lot of the time, between biking and walking your legs are the only transit you need. If not, there are buses, trains, taxis, and services like Car2go and ZipCar.

I understand that kind of lifestyle is not for everybody, but the worst thing we can do is spread out more. That has lead to all kinds of problems.

Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (0)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | about 4 months ago | (#47714645)

"That has lead to all kinds of problems."

Like how quickly disease spreads.. oh wait, that's in a city.... How about the increased crime rate!! Nope, city life again.

What exactly are you fucking talking about?

Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47714661)

the environment? single family homes should be illegal.

Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (0)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 4 months ago | (#47714877)

Once again, the fascists display their true colors.

Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47714915)

What exactly are you fucking talking about?

Sex and the city.

Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (3, Insightful)

fightermagethief (3645291) | about 4 months ago | (#47714491)

What you say sounds reasonable, but I think it just depends on how you look at it. On the way into California, going through remote areas of Texas and New Mexico felt like hell on earth where running out of gas and losing your phone could mean death. I have always felt disgusted with any place where I was forced to own a car just to get to a grocery store. I don't necessarily talk to a large portion of the people around me, but it is nice to see signs of life. If you are comfortable, then that lush, verdant grove is going to be quite peaceful, but if you need a physical bank location, then it might piss you off how spread out everything is. People say it is more expensive to live in a big city, but at the bottom of the economic scale, it is much cheaper. Even crime has a population based trade-off, where in extremely populous/busy areas, crime is scarce because there is always someone around to call the cops. Crime is the worst in poor, urban neighborhoods where no one walks around. I don't see how anyone could prefer to live in rural areas, except perhaps the enthusiast.

Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47714497)

Doesn't anyone want to listen to music without having to worry about whether the neighbors will object? Doesn't anyone want a dog or a garden or just some space that is theirs?

While I own my own home for precisely these reasons (and more), a friend of mine told me that he never wants to own a place because he prefers to have someone else take care of the maintenance that comes with home ownership. And while I have no problems dealing with clogged drain pipes, central air systems and hot water tanks that have reached the end of their life span, keeping the landscape in check, and many more issues, I can certainly see how some people would value not having to deal with any of that.

Living in the country is an anachronism (4, Insightful)

Prien715 (251944) | about 4 months ago | (#47714599)

Back before the days of public sewage, I would understand living the country. Before laws against air pollution, city air was shit. I don't understand why people would ever want to be so distant from one another -- we've a social species. We don't need distant farms at this point.

I love that there's music at night, made live by humans -- and sometimes I even get to dance with the people making it! How in the world are you supposed to find an orchestra to play with in BFE (I play clarinet -- not exactly a great solo instrument)? If you like gardening, there's community gardens all over that I don't need to tend every single day.

Cities are also easier on the environment. By centralizing transportation, waste management, and education, you achieve savings just from the economies of scale. Cities subsidize the rest of the country as it's literally not efficient to have roads/phonelines/internet/etc to nowhere -- destroying the environment in the process. As far as crime, I like having a decent police force so I don't have to own a shotgun.

Issues with racists, idiots, homophobes, and the chain score hellscape that litters small town America -- I have no idea why anyone could ever love such a thing except out of ignorance.

Living in the country is an anachronism (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47714699)

" As far as crime, I like having a decent police force so I don't have to own a shotgun." like the one in America, i.e. Ferguson ? ;)

Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (2)

Ichijo (607641) | about 4 months ago | (#47714899)

I'll never live anywhere that won't let me have a car or where for whatever reason cars are uneconomical.

Please name one city in your country where cars are economical without subsidies, such as sales taxes to finance freeways, and without preferential treatment, such as minimum parking requirements to force business owners to build more than the economically optimal amount of parking.

In my country (the USA), I don't think any such city exists.

Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (2)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 4 months ago | (#47713971)

Smells like a big lease program to me. The fine print would be interesting.

Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47714369)

Smells like a big lease program to me. The fine print would be interesting.

Interesting would imply you have influence over the fine print or EULA. That's laughable.

Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47714049)

Did you even read the summary? What they are trying to create is an online platform through which companies (and yes government sponsored city bikes and buses) can offer their services.

Go live under your rock and find something better to be afraid of.

Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 4 months ago | (#47714473)

Yes... someone makes a critical argument about a dumb idea and they're automatically luddites. You're unworthy of an opinion.

Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (5, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 4 months ago | (#47714067)

count me out... this sort of stuff just makes me want to live on a remote tropical island and spend my days fishing.

Do you also insist on owning your own elevator? If socialized vertical transportation is acceptable, then why is horizontal transportation so different?

Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (4, Funny)

jdew (644405) | about 4 months ago | (#47714117)

Who doesn't want to own airwolf?

Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47714153)

count me out... this sort of stuff just makes me want to live on a remote tropical island and spend my days fishing.

Do you also insist on owning your own elevator? If socialized vertical transportation is acceptable, then why is horizontal transportation so different?

Do you live someplace where it is illegal to own your own helicopter?

Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (1)

BigSlowTarget (325940) | about 4 months ago | (#47714169)

As with everything it depends on the service level and cost. If you live outside major cities your service level would be like Amtrak in those cities - terrible. This is proposed for a major city where it makes the most sense and I expect will lock the inhabitants (or at least the non-wealthy ones) into those cities by denying transport outside them and preventing them from traveling to less spoiled areas.

Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (3, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | about 4 months ago | (#47714227)

I expect will lock the inhabitants (or at least the non-wealthy ones) into those cities by denying transport outside them and preventing them from traveling to less spoiled areas.

Quality of life in Helsink is very high. It's often rated one of the most livable cities globally. Few would call it "spoiled".

Sometimes Finns want to get out into the peace of the country, but they have summer homes for that which they visit on a temporary basis. Society-wide, it's clear that most people don't want to move their main residence from the country to the city, they want to abandon the countryside for the city. The north of Finland is being depopulated at an alarming rate, with only the elderly remaining in many places, with all the young people heading towards Helsinki (or other cities) because that's where the jobs/nightlife/culture are.

And note that because summer-home ownership is high, there are plenty of public transportation options into the countryside, and many people still own cars to get out there (it is driving within the city that is less popular and more of a hassle). So no one is being stuck anywhere.

Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (1)

CRCulver (715279) | about 4 months ago | (#47714287)

Sorry, that should have read "most people don't want to move their main residence from the city to the country..."

Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 4 months ago | (#47714261)

If you live outside major cities your service level would be like Amtrak in those cities - terrible.

You should read the article ... on wait, there isn't one ... here [theguardian.com] is a description of their plan. It involves a range of services, including on-demand self driving cars and vans, easy access to rental cars, etc. They envision that most of these services will be provided by competing private businesses. It is also non-coercive: they aren't banning private cars, just trying to make them unnecessary for most people.

Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47714395)

It is also non-coercive: they aren't banning private cars, just trying to make them unnecessary for most people.

"Pushing for bans" and "being coercive" are not mutually exclusive.

Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 4 months ago | (#47714403)

Personally, I don't own a car, and I know a few other people who don't own them as well. Between walking, bikes, public transit, taxis, delivery services, and rental cars, all my(and their) transportation needs are met, at a much lower TCO than owning a private car.

Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (3, Interesting)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about 4 months ago | (#47714179)

>> it's like your elevator, only horizontal

Except it's not, because of scale. If your elevator sucks, you can just move to the next building over. If your city's transportation monopoly sucks (or if its workers just want to shut down the system to complain about whatever), you might have to move to a different city for relief.

Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (3, Insightful)

Amtrak (2430376) | about 4 months ago | (#47714185)

There are times where a personal elevator might be nice to have. Like if I had a really tall house. But I think you are thinking to small. Elevators are the trains of vertical transportation. The helicopter is the car. I would love to own a helicopter if they were practical/affordable/not noise polling gas guzzling monsters. WHERE IS MY FLYING CAR?!!!!!

Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (2)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 4 months ago | (#47714255)

Complexity. the "vertical" transport system only goes to given floors in a given building. The roads go everywhere. I can drive from NYC to Los Angeles... and anywhere in between.

This whole congestion issue is a product of poor urban planning. We already have to heavily subsidize and incentivize city dwelling to keep the density this high. And these transport projects are just doubling down on the concept to pack people tighter and tighter for no apparent reason.

Just go live in the suburbs or some other place. Why do you need to live in that city? How tiny of an apartment are you willing to live in just for that privilege?

Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (2)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 4 months ago | (#47714431)

We already have to heavily subsidize and incentivize city dwelling to keep the density this high ... Just go live in the suburbs or some other place

This is completely backwards. It is the suburbs that are subsidized [reimaginerpe.org] , and zoning laws and economic disincentives discourage dense urban cores. Where I live (SF Bay Area), 95% of building permits in San Francisco were rejected last year, while there is plenty of new construction in the urban sprawl extending out east of Livermore and south of San Jose.

Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 4 months ago | (#47714641)

Rent control.
Project housing.
EBT cards.
etc...

I really have no patience for these cherry picked statistical games.

Yes, the cities also generate a lot of revenue but most of that revenue comes the top 10 percent of the earning population in those cities. While a large portion of the city's population is heavily subsidized one way or the other.

The difference between rich and poor is a good deal flatter outside the cities. And the rate and nature of subsidization is very different.

Most subsidization of rural communities you would point to would be things like rural airports, roads, and telephone service. However, in most of these communities they don't actually need it. They just get it because their congressman felt he had to get his district something. People in those regions generally only want one thing... low taxes and being left alone. That's pretty much the only thing they ask from their politicians. And when that isn't going to happen because the political winds have blown otherwise, their politicians instead try to get their rural constituents SOMETHING for their money.

Over time his builds up to the subsidies you're talking about. But these are consequences of our political system... not logistical needs.

Airports are not expensive to set up and maintain... especially small airfields. A dirt runway is perfectly servicable if the airport doesn't see much traffic. And a simple asphalt runway is no big deal either. You see these on Pacific islands. Nothing wrong with them and they're not expensive. You can't land big planes on them but rural communities don't need big planes.

As to roads, the interstate system was set up mostly for military reasons after WW2. It is therefore a national expense and not anything specific to rural communities. The roads not part of the interstate do not need to be subsidized. Some of the might turn into dirt roads if you did that but without exception any road with so little traffic that that was an issue would naturally not be badly effected by the change.

As to telephone lines, this is something of a self fulfilling prophesy at this point. If you offer them something they will use it. If you shut down the copper line phone system in some of the really remote areas people would just start using radio repeaters. That is assuming the FCC doesn't block the move which is fairly typical of them.

TLDR? Rural areas could adapt very easily and change very little if the subsidies got cut off. if you did the same in the cities the whole pathetic mess would collapse in on itself.

Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (3)

CRCulver (715279) | about 4 months ago | (#47714733)

They just get it because their congressman felt he had to get his district something.

Finland doesn't have "congressmen".

Airports are not expensive to set up and maintain... especially small airfields. A dirt runway is perfectly servicable if the airport doesn't see much traffic. And a simple asphalt runway is no big deal either.

Finland has severe winters and de-icing of runways is a major task. A "dirt runway" here would be useless for half of the year.

As to roads, the interstate system was set up mostly for military reasons after WW2.

What does the US interstate system being set up after World War II have to do with Finland?

Have you been holding this rant on your demographics in the US bottled up inside for so long that you have to bring it into this discussion of a whole other country?

Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (2)

CRCulver (715279) | about 4 months ago | (#47714535)

. We already have to heavily subsidize and incentivize city dwelling to keep the density this high.

Who is "we"? Your statement is not true for Finland. The Finnish state has to redirect an enormous amount of money from the cities to the less-populated areas, because the countryside does not have a tax base large enough for infrastructure that Finns consider essential, whether physical (rail services and paved roads that keep the country connected even in winter) or cultural (a local chamber orchestra, decent libraries). The depopulation of northern Finland as virtually all the young people head south to the cities has also led to the establishment of state subsidies to encourage people to stay out in Junttila ("Redneckland").

Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47714593)

What the hell do you need libraries in rural areas for. From what i understand Finland has one of the best fiber infrastructures of all the first world countries.

Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (2)

CRCulver (715279) | about 4 months ago | (#47714673)

What the hell do you need libraries in rural areas for. From what i understand Finland has one of the best fiber infrastructures of all the first world countries.

Because plenty of people like paper books, CDs and DVDs, because rural areas have a predominantly elderly population that are not always comfortable with newfangled technology, and because these libraries tend to double as cultural centres where you've already got to pay staff and keep the lights on even if you transitioned the library holdings to ebooks.

Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 4 months ago | (#47714273)

This kind of government mediated market(that you call a monopoly) has a remarkable history of functional success in specific areas of economies in Western(and Scandinavian) Europe.

The main concern against monopolies is the trivial formation of a trust, wherein market actors collude to set prices that maximize total sector profit, rather than total sector productivity. This particular arrangement doesn't appear to fit that criteria, for the moment, though I'll remember your allegation if it turns out I'm wrong.

Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 4 months ago | (#47714543)

If the mediated market sets prices and sets terms then they could control who participates.

More to the point, you're making it hard for me to just have a car which limits my independence.

Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (1)

CRCulver (715279) | about 4 months ago | (#47714553)

More to the point, you're making it hard for me to just have a car which limits my independence.

As I've pointed out elsewhere here, no one is stopping you from having a car. Lots of Finns will continue to own cars so that they can get out to their second homes in the country on holidays. What is being discouraged here is driving from one's home in the direction of the city center, not in the opposite direction.

Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 4 months ago | (#47714621)

What a coincidence, I have a plane ticket right here on Oceanic Airlines (flight 815), and I'm willing to sell it for only 4815162342 Dogecoins.

Not a single link (5, Insightful)

visionsofmcskill (556169) | about 4 months ago | (#47713957)

No links, Really? in many years of reading his site daily i'm not sure i recall when a story was posted without a single f*cking link to the source material or supporting info.

Perhaps this thing is entirely made up... i think ill start submitting stories now - or is this a Beta story?

Come on guys!!

Re:Not a single link (1)

Timothy Hartman (2905293) | about 4 months ago | (#47714001)

Here [zdnet.com]

Re:Not a single link (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47714023)

http://www.zdnet.com/death-of-the-car-the-tech-behind-helsinkis-ambitious-plan-to-kill-off-private-vehicles-7000032735/

Re:Not a single link (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 4 months ago | (#47714093)

No links, Really? in many years of reading his site daily i'm not sure i recall when a story was posted without a single f*cking link to the source material or supporting info.

Perhaps this thing is entirely made up...

Right... Like having an internet link means it's a real story...

Look on the bright side, there is a story to link to now: http://tech.slashdot.org/story... [slashdot.org]

You clicked though? Going anyplace?

Re:Not a single link (2)

jones_supa (887896) | about 4 months ago | (#47714143)

Here's another one by YLE from April discussing the same ideas [yle.fi] .

Re:Not a single link (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47714483)

Since when does a link aggregation require... wait never mind.

Re:Not a single link (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 4 months ago | (#47714503)

there have been a few, ive noticed it more and more over the past year or so

Thrilling Stuff (2)

digitrev (989335) | about 4 months ago | (#47713963)

Thrilling, but can we get literally any information from a source? I know, I know, no one reads the article, but still. This isn't an Ask Slashdot nor is it an interview, so some sort of article would be nice.

Re:Thrilling Stuff (1)

CRCulver (715279) | about 4 months ago | (#47714003)

This was covered zdnet.com [zdnet.com] . Apparently the submitter forgot his link.

Re:Thrilling Stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47714339)

http://www.helsinkitimes.fi/finland/finland-news/domestic/11062-the-future-resident-of-helsinki-will-not-own-a-car.html
maybe this?

Another blow to Uber (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 4 months ago | (#47713991)

Yeah links are missing, perhaps because the source is finnish only?

Re:Another blow to Uber (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47714479)

No. The source isn't finnish. In fact they are just starting this plan.

Re:Another blow to Uber (1)

Keruo (771880) | about 4 months ago | (#47714623)

How is this blow against Uber?
Uber is illegal in Finland as taxis here need a license to operate and they have service obligation.
Uber would allow the drivers to bypass the service obligation by rating the user with note like "user is in wheelchair" and that would give the driver the option to skip the ride which would be discriminating towards the user ordering the service(although not necessarily directly obvious) and thus bypassing the service obligation.

Re:Another blow to Uber (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 4 months ago | (#47714867)

It is a blow to Uber because there is no private car left they can use to provide their service with ;D (regardless of licenses ;D )

It was meant as a joke anyway (* facepalm *)

Legal challenges (1)

Alain Williams (2972) | about 4 months ago | (#47714005)

Expect all sorts of (spurious) legal challenges from the motor industry ... they won't want their business badly dented.

Re:Legal challenges (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 4 months ago | (#47714073)

I think they will see ripe opportunities make much more money than they do.

Re:Legal challenges (1)

TWX (665546) | about 4 months ago | (#47714219)

Well, if my Ph.D in Wikipedia is any good, there's only one modern manufacturer of consumer-oriented automotive products left in Finland, and they're basically an engineering firm that other car makers go to when they want something special developed and/or manufactured, similar to how ASC modifies stock vehicles into convertibles and the like.

Given that this one company sells to the luxury market principally, I don't think this change in Helsinki's transportation would affect them very much.

Power Grab (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47714051)

In order to transition an economy or government to true socialism, the first step is to remove the concept of private ownership over anything especially the things that allow you to carry out your daily activities and sustain yourself.

Re:Power Grab (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47714091)

to prevent this, we should abolish communal roads.

Re:Power Grab (1)

JackieBrown (987087) | about 4 months ago | (#47714337)

It's not an all or nothing idea.

This does seems to be the new meme, though. I am seeing this great "comeback" pop up all over the place.

I guess the left really do get their news from the same place.

Re:Power Grab (1)

CRCulver (715279) | about 4 months ago | (#47714141)

In order to transition an economy or government to true socialism, the first step is to remove the concept of private ownership over anything especially the things that allow you to carry out your daily activities and sustain yourself.

Finland isn't aiming to make private vehicle ownership illegal. Lots of people will continue to own private cars, because most Finnish families have a summer home in the country and those are best reached with one's own car.

However, in order to alleviate traffic within the city, the transportation authorities are simply offering an incentive to not use one's car for city-internal trips. With a larger number of people on board, the expense in time and money (parking in much of Helsinki is expensive, as is petrol) goes down. If it were a private corporation organizing this same ridesharing by exploiting economies of scale (and there are lots of app-based service to do so), would you be so quick to call that socialism too?

Re:Power Grab (1)

greenwow (3635575) | about 4 months ago | (#47714299)

Finland isn't aiming to make private vehicle ownership illegal.

Correct, and that is why this entire plan is shit. Instead of going door to door to confiscate cars, they're pandering to them. It's the same reason the US is being destroyed by the car culture. The Republicans do not understand logic so they don't understand why we must not allow car ownership. Taking cars is the only way we'll ever start building reasonable cities.

Re:Power Grab (1)

CRCulver (715279) | about 4 months ago | (#47714385)

Your view of Helsinki car ownership is rather distorted, you ought to visit the city when you get a chance. Journeys in one's own car within the Helsinki metropolitan area are not some kind of cherished activity; the popularity of driving one's own car has already waned drastically due to the expense of petrol and parking. I imagine that the minibus plan now being developed is for places on the outskirts of Helsinki where population density is low enough that only minibuses run, and waits for them can be long enough that parents who just want to get their kids somewhere might just start the car. Elsewhere, most people, even the well-off, just take the train or metro to get to work or do their shopping.

As for car ownership in general, as long as owning a summer home remains so popular in Finland (most families have a second home, it's not only for the wealthy), people will still feel the need for a car to get themselves and their families out to Nowheremäki. However, as long as those cars are not being used very often, and not adding to congesting of metropolitan areas, where's the problem?

Re:Power Grab (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47714441)

Or you could just start building reasonable cities rather than trying to legislate everything. You know roads that work and get maintained rather than the money for that being funneled into the next socialist shell game.

Question of Reliability (3, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 4 months ago | (#47714053)

To me the plan sounds like you end up with every car you use giving you the reliability of a rental, with the "oops no cars are available now" factor of services like ZipCar...

But perhaps in a more isolated culture where people do not abuse things they do not own, the cars will be treated well and availability will work out well.

Re:Question of Reliability (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47714187)

But perhaps in a more isolated culture where people do not abuse things they do not own

What? You think this might not be viable in Ferguson, MO? Or any of a hundred other ghettos?

Racist.

<sarcasm, asshats/>

Re:Question of Reliability (1)

maligor (100107) | about 4 months ago | (#47714315)

To me the plan sounds like you end up with every car you use giving you the reliability of a rental, with the "oops no cars are available now" factor of services like ZipCar...

But perhaps in a more isolated culture where people do not abuse things they do not own, the cars will be treated well and availability will work out well.

I do wonder if all these comments are from Americans living in sparse suburb style cities with a deserted downtown. For example Kutsuplus is a bus stop to bus stop ordered service provided by the city transport services (Sort of a random group taxi that goes through optimal stops). I haven't heard of a single company offering rental cars on the sort of plan you mention.

Helsinki already has a portal where you can create bus/walking/cycling routes. I imagine what they want to add to that is services like Taxi or the newer style private transportation services like Uber ect.

Opposite (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 4 months ago | (#47714573)

My town has a thriving downtown - also has services like Car2Go. That's how I know they can at times be scarce or distant. We also have a city bike rental program that works pretty well.

Since there are no links with real info I have to assume the Helsinki plan is like ZipCar/Car2Go, where you just can collect a car somewhere and use it for some period of time to go wherever - but instead of just the one kind of car, it would include bikes and larger trucks too. I just figure if you do go for that and lean on such a program instead of leasing or owning a car, the vehicles (like all rental cars) may not be treated well.

Being in Helsinki though, it's not as likely as if you tried such a thing in NYC. Even where I live the rental bikes take quite a beating and some of them show it (not hard to find at least one flat tire in a rack of bikes).

Re:Question of Reliability (2)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | about 4 months ago | (#47714763)

No it sounds more like an Uber App but instead of being locked into one transportation vendor they allow you to price compare and shop between multiple competing transportation solutions whether that's municipal bus, car2go, zip car and uber in one hub.

"The city wants to build a framework for an open market where companies can operate and offer their services in different combinations. The City doesn't want to decree what services are offered, but help to facilitate the establishment of an ecosystem that enables private companies to produce a variety of them," Heikkilà says. "There would be several commercial [transport] operators offering these services, in the same way as in telecommunications today. The customers could choose the operator and the service package they want."

Likewise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47714055)

Companies offering transportation packages will start behaving like telco's. ie offering bundles with stuff in it you don't need. New packages with new names and new "features" every 6 months, you can not extend your existing deal. An unlimited plan will turn out to be not so unlimited. And when they fuck up and can not deliver you are entitled to $0.02 per day in compensation, if any.

Re:Likewise (1)

hawkinspeter (831501) | about 4 months ago | (#47714527)

That kind of behaviour tends to happen when there is some kind of monopoly in effect (e.g. owning the fibre connections). When a market is operating well, you'll get companies trying those kinds of shenanigans and then being out-competed by other companies.

Not necessary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47714071)

In all big cities I've been to (not Helsinki), private cars are already pretty obvious.

Can't store stuff while parked (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47714075)

This kind of system usually isn't good if you are visiting a sequence of places, picking up some stuff and/or dropping off other stuff at each place. This also doesn't allow you to customize your car interior to your preferences. What is really needed is a system that embraces private ownership of the cars, so that people who want to can own their car and use it in the system. People who don't have those needs can use the public cars.

Taixs are leases? (3, Interesting)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 4 months ago | (#47714109)

I see two basic ways this ends up being implemented (not working). Also there might be some combination of these methods.

1) You have people pick you up and take you places. This will work reasonably well for pre-planned activities - such as your commute, but be very crappy for spontaneous needs. Just like normal taxis.

2) You don't "own" the car, but it can and will stay at your home/office with no one watching it for hours before/after you use it. Some other people may use it during the hours you don't - such as while you are at work or late at night. Effectively you are the renting from a place that delivers and picks up.

Neither of these ideas seem workable to me. Both are not significantly different than existing one time use services, we are simply adding in a long term contract for the Taxis or car rental places (with delivery).

People like owning cars for many good reasons.

That said, once we have driverless cars, such a plan COULD actually work, in large part because suddenly your don't need to arrange for people to drop off your car/pick it up, it does it automatically.

Taixs are leases? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47714147)

At least until that self driving car shows up with a dead person in the trunk or a giant pile of shit in the back seat from the drunk who used it before you. Sometimes they may even show up with your favorite opportunistic mugger.

Re:Taixs are leases? (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about 4 months ago | (#47714275)

>> people like cars

Mostly because they don't smell like other people, or what they ate/drank last night. Figure out how to let me have my own personal compartment that I can maintain to my standard of hygiene and i'll happily give up driving.

Re:Taixs are leases? (4, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | about 4 months ago | (#47714467)

Mostly because they don't smell like other people, or what they ate/drank last night.

You should avoid projecting your own, presumably American public transportation situation on to the rest of the world. Public transportation in Finland is not particularly smelly. Leaving Chicago, where the trains inevitably smell like urine, for Helsinki, I was amazed at how clean the buses, trams and metro are. Finns are big public drinkers, and on a Friday or Saturday night the public transportation is full of drunks, but everything remains remarkably orderly and tidy. That's pretty much true for the whole continent. In Romania, where I now live, things might be a bit run-down because we use second-hand vehicles bought from Western Europe, but they don't smell.

If in the US public vehicles tend to quickly succumb to vandalism, bodily fluids and the smell of people who don't bathe, that's less a reason to disparage the concept of public transportation than to wonder WTF is wrong with US society.

Link (1)

Reason58 (775044) | about 4 months ago | (#47714131)

Here's a link to the article [zdnet.com] , since the editor didn't see fit to provide one.

Sounds like the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47714149)

Younger generations in general don't identify themselves with their car like older generations did. This, plus autonomous vehicles is just the way the future will be. You can own, for a high cost, or for a more reasonable cost, you can let a rentable autonomous vehicle get you there while you enjoy the morning news, reading, etc. For those that really like to have their hands on the wheel and to own CDs, maybe you can opt out... Until the cost of private ownership skyrockets due to dwindling demand.

Re:Sounds like the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47714295)

Younger generations in general don't identify themselves with their car like older generations did.

Yes, certainly not cars. And earning a living, property, committed marriage, parenting, cash.... there is a whole host of stuff young people no longer "identify with."

Romper Room Murica.... we'll grow up after they forgive the debt we racked up earning our useless degrees.

Relevant link (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47714335)

Here's a link to a recent post on Bloomberg.com about this same topic: http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2014-07-15/millennials-want-apps-not-cars

I can only say (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about 4 months ago | (#47714383)

Yeah!

Plenty more things to say, actually (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47714701)

It looks nice, this "single platform", but it easily becomes a single point of failure.

Also, I'd likely have to register, make myself known, end up completely trackable, over all modes of transport, conveniently gathered in a single place for law enforcement, private eyes, and perhaps even "oops, sorry!" for any vaguely clever onlooker at all.

There's so many issues I'd sooner say "wtf mate".

So what's new? (1, Troll)

0123456 (636235) | about 4 months ago | (#47714489)

Communists have been trying to kill private transport since the Communist Manifesto was published. People who can travel without permission are much more dangerous to the State than those who can be forced to walk at any time.

Cities: an obsolete solution (2)

fnj (64210) | about 4 months ago | (#47714683)

Many years ago cities made sense. Factories to make steel, shoes, ketchup, shirts and other goods scaled well to gigantic sizes. Having the workers' living quarters hived up in close proximity to their employment was natural as there was no viable alternative. No one was yet doing more than dreaming of pervasive automation. Cities allowed stunningly great libraries and concert halls and baseball parks to be provided.

Yo, things have changed. It is not necessary any longer to clump gigantic numbers of people into tiny areas in which it is impossible to efficiently support personal transportation. It is not technically and logistically necessary for us to live in a milieu in which it is necessary to call some agency to take us somewhere. The internet could be extended in non-commercialized ways to fully provide all the resources of libraries and a great deal more.

I can see a place for a certain supply of centralized areas for those who cannot adjust to living any other way than like cattle. Feel free to phrase it differently. A richness of cultural and service facilities can be provided in built-up areas. But by and large the concept of the city, un-navigable by private conveyance, fighting for innovative ways to move people about efficiently.

What if these built-up areas concentrated on what they are uniquely suited for? What if people traveled to them (and a few lived there) for the culture? Optimize them for that, and make them pay their way doing that.

It needn't be whole-hog Asimov Spacers level sprawl, but living with elbow room and not with jammed-up crowds constantly getting in your way.

Just a thought.

Re:Cities: an obsolete solution (1)

CRCulver (715279) | about 4 months ago | (#47714845)

The Finnish state has already ensured excellent internet connectivity and cultural infrastructure (regional orchestras, good libraries) in rural areas, but it hasn't stopped the migration to the cities. The north of Finland is being depopulated so rapidly that the Finnish state has had to introduce subsidies to encourage people to stay put, but young people are drawn towards Helsinki and other cities in the south of the country. Drinking is a prominent part of Finnish culture, and when you've had a fair few drinks -- you might be so pissed that you can barely stand -- it's a lot easier to get to your home a few kilometres away than to go all the way back into the countryside because you made a temporary visit to the city for an outing. Furthermore, live music is very popular with young people -- a digital reproduction won't cut it when you want to go out with your friends to an arena concert -- and it's hard enough to convince musicians to come to Helsinki, let alone the countryside.

Finns are familiar with "country living" since most Finnish families own a second home in the country. However, while it might be pleasant to stay there for a month in the summer, few would want to stay there all the time. You might like the countryside, but you should respect other people's choices, and to insist that the countryside is universally better when the Finnish trend is so overwhelmingly directed towards moving to the city is rather creepy.

By the numbers. (1)

westlake (615356) | about 4 months ago | (#47714725)

Finland has about 3 million passenger cars in use by a population of 5.46 million.

Finland [wikipedia.org] , Vehicle stock grew in 2012 [www.stat.fi]

Helsinki has some 390 cars per 1000 inhabitants. This is less than in cities of similar density, such as Brussels' 483 per 1000, Stockholm's 401, and Oslo's 413.

Today, Helsinki is the only city in Finland to have trams and metro trains. There used to be two other cities in Finland with trams: Turku and Viipuri (Vyborg, now in Russia), but both have since abandoned trams. The Helsinki Metro, opened in 1982, is the only rapid transit system in Finland.

Helsinki [wikipedia.org]

Now just force society to accept transit limits (1)

swb (14022) | about 4 months ago | (#47714759)

Right now society (jobs, business interactions, legal obligations, etc) are generally structured around the common denominator of automobile transit. Your boss expects you to get to work around the basic parameters of what you can do in a car.

It's great to eliminate the car at some municipal level, now make "the bus didn't show up" or "there were no Uber/Zipcar/Car2Gos available" as some kind of universally accepted, legally unchangeable excuse for missing work, a court appearance, daycare pickup, etc.

One of the problems with the "yay, no cars!" world is that the rest of the world goes on making assumptions about people moving about that are based on the ability to get from point A to point B in a car.

Sure, in some places like NYC, a subway glitch will usually be accepted (in fact, I think they have a process for issuing excuse notes) and when I worked in a downtown office where there were a lot of bus riders, weather problems with the bus were generally not questioned or a cause for action.

But generally speaking society as a whole just assumes you're at fault.

Re:Now just force society to accept transit limits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47714873)

I read this as:

"Great! This will make it way easier for me to come up with excuses for failing to meet agreed-upon deadlines!"

FYI, most places I've ever worked don't give a rat's patoot about how you get there, all they cared about is that you clocked in at the agreed-upon time.

--CanHasDIY, posting anon because my browser still won't let me log in, and today I'm too damn lazy to care.

Re:Now just force society to accept transit limits (1)

CRCulver (715279) | about 4 months ago | (#47714885)

Right now society (jobs, business interactions, legal obligations, etc) are generally structured around the common denominator of automobile transit. Your boss expects you to get to work around the basic parameters of what you can do in a car.

American society, maybe. In the Helsinki metropolitan area, the topic of discussion, the usual way to getting to work is the train or metro. Even citydwellers who own a car don't typically use it, it stays in wait for rare outings to one's second house in the country.

I've worked in a fair few sites scattered across Uusimaa (the province in question), and never was there any expectation of using a car. Had I driven to work, my coworkers might have thought be odd; petrol and parking are simply too expensive for doing that on a regular basis.

Again with the bicycles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47714857)

I understand that for people who live in places that are warm year round, bicycles are a viable method of transportation. Where I live, there is ice and snow on the road for at least 8 months a year. Its not like 'oh just give it a light whisk with the broom, there, now its gone..' NO! When I mean snow, I mean a *lot* of it, and if you said dynamite, then yes, its removable. A 30 ton construction grader has a blade that is made of 3/4 inch (19mm) hardened steel. It skates over ice like ducks on a frozen pond. The coefficient of friction for ice is far less than it is for asphalt or concrete. There is no traction for a bicycle wheel, not just the back wheel but the front wheel too. Want to turn? Watch the handle bars move but you keep gong in the same direction. Now where I live, there are (idiots/morons) who come from these warm-all-year places, and tell us that we should all use bicycles all year long. They always come in the summer, never in winter. I've seen pictures of these places when they actually get a bit of winter because it always makes the nightly news: the city shuts down. But it doesn't stop them from trying. "Oh, you should ride a bike, get rid of that old car..." My plan: when its -28C, invite them to come and ride their bike for a few miles. "Oh, its too cold you can't go now, you have to wait till its warmer..." Only 4-5 months, no prob.

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