Summer holidays are here and Finns head to free-time residences – can you survive without own car?

Rantasila Karri

Finns love their cottages, especially during the summer time. According statistics, there were half a million free-time residences in Finland at the end of 2014. Many of these are located close to water in rural areas that are not usually well-served with public transport. Luckily the total fleet of personal mobility devices (aka private cars) in Finland is well over three million, so most people have no problems of reaching their beloved summer homes with convenience! However, there are some signs that an increasing trend among young adults is not to get driver’s license or to own a private car. This is the case especially in bigger cities.

During the last year or so, a Finnish-born concept of “Mobility as a Service – MaaS”, has gained a lot of attention in major global forums. The idea of MaaS is to provide a comprehensive range of mobility services (including public transport, private cars, cycles etc.) to customers by the mobility operator. It aims at providing a same superb service level, offered by the private car, without owning one. My question is how viable this concept could be in context of reaching your cottage?

Naturally, not a single answer exists as this is heavily dependent on the distance to free-time residence and personal preferences. However, some “typical” cases are to be found. I’m using my own midsummer weekend as an example: two persons travelling, distance 270km, total travel time (own car) six and half hours, two-way fuel cost 65EUR. This does not include the relatively high price of owning the car but this can be assessed. For the duration of my trip the approximate costs would be around 19 euros. This includes devaluation of car (10EUR), insurance and maintenance fees (9EUR). My options for using own car (total cost 84EUR) would have been:

  • Public transport: cheapest (4x bus tickets+2x taxi) 97,2EUR / 11,5 h (of which waiting time 3,5 hours) / walking 5km
  • Renting a car: cheapest (rent+2x bus tickets+fuel) 238EUR / 9h / walking 1km

So, in terms of price and convenience, own vehicle is superb. Yet, we need to see the forest from the trees. Owning a car is expensive and generates costs whether you use it or not. Beyond a single journey, there are viable options, at least in terms of economics. From the example we can also see that the option of using public transport is actually quite tempting if you’re not in a rush and willing to do some walking!

Here lies the beauty of developing new mobility services. There is no need to have only one option but rather let the consumer decide based on his or her own preferences (that usually even varies based on time and place). Many different services (e.g. ride sharing) are about to born to fulfil the variety of these needs and VTT is also contributing to this development. Maybe next summer we have more options to go to our beloved cottages!

Karri Rantasila,

Key Account Manager

2 thoughts on “Summer holidays are here and Finns head to free-time residences – can you survive without own car?

  1. But not included is the ability of your own vehicle to transport cargo. It is more than just transporting people. A week in a cabin needs clothes, food and drink as a minimum.
    In addition to that there is the freedom of time to travel. I have often found public services very restrictive.

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    • This is very much true! As I wrote above this example does not take personal preferences into account as it is almost impossible to quantify these with monetary values. Yet these kind of issues definetely have impact on individual choises we make everyday!

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