A new type of electric on-demand boat will operate between Laajasalo and the Vartiosaari island across Reposalmi from Tuesday to Sunday, 10am–8pm, until 23 August 2020. The pilot was brought to Helsinki by the Mobility Launchpad project coordinated by Forum Virium Helsinki.
The electric catamaran can accommodate six passengers. The boat operates as an on-demand service used with a mobile application. To call the boat, the passenger needs to download the Callboats application from Google Play Store or App Store.
The price of a one-way trip is 2.50 euro for adults and 1.50 euro for 7–17-year-olds (2€ and 1€ respectively with the Callboats application). You can pay with the application or a payment card on the boat.
The departure pier is visible from the parking area located at the end of Reposalmentie. The pier on the island is identified by Google Maps as Reposalmi, päälaituri >>. The HSL Journey Planner also identifies the pier in Laajasalo as Laajasalon saaristovenelaituri. Callboats itself is not shown on the Journey Planner, as it is an on-demand service and not a scheduled service.
Combining three needs
The electric boat connection operating in the summer comes as a response to three wishes expressed by different parties.
The first of these is the Helsinki Maritime Strategy and opening the islands more widely for use by the city’s residents. The outdoor recreation opportunities on Vartiosaari have been improved for summer 2020. Better routes, signage and toilets allow a slightly larger number of visitors to enjoy a comfortable day on the island.
The second need, which has existed for a longer period of time, is for some type of transport vessel to operate to Vartiosaari for the island’s residents and visitors. The idea for this type of a vessel was also proposed through Helsinki’s participatory budgeting, OmaStadi. The proposal “Solar-powered ferry for Vartiosaari across Reposalmi”, compiled and promoted by the Laajasalo-Degerö Society in cooperation with other operators in the area, ultimately received 1,626 votes in OmaStadi’s voting process and made it to the implementation phase.
However, the ferry connection planned in OmaStadi would not have been implemented in time for summer 2020. In May, the City of Helsinki identified an opportunity to meet a part of the need on an expedited schedule.
The third need was that the City of Helsinki’s innovation company Forum Virium Helsinki was looking for a place to pilot a new type of electric boat called Callboats. It was carrying out this work under the Mobility Launchpad project, which is helping develop new business related to smart mobility. The project is being funded by the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council through the European Regional Development Fund.
The Mobility Launchpad project helps companies pilot new types of business related to smart mobility, among other things. The Callboats operator, Matson Oy, which previously operated more traditional taxi boat services, will learn about operating an electric on-demand boat over the course of the summer. The pilot will also yield lessons learned for developing water transport both to Vartiosaari and throughout Helsinki.
As the first electricity-powered form of on-demand water transport, the Vartiosaari Callboats pilot can serve as a good starting point for many types of future development.
Contact details during the summer:
Project Planner, Mobility Launchpad
Forum Virium Helsinki
040 664 8877
On holiday 11.7.-2.8.
Project Manager, Mobility Launchpad
Forum Virium Helsinki
040 629 7744
On holiday 2.7.-9.8.
040 546 0140
Mente Marine Oy / Callboats
0500 861 737
Driver on duty
045 7834 8259
Article photo: Vesa Laitinen