Kemi: On the buses?
Developing public transport to serve inhabitants profitably and ecologically is especially challenging in small cities like Kemi. Almost all the households own a car or two and due to dense urban structure cycling and walking are practical ways of moving, as well. Public transport is having a strict competition with other ways of moving.
It is a never-ending circle: Insufficient public transport compels people to own a car. Having a car inspires to use it even when there would be proper public transport available. Amount of ”public travelers” decreases, prices get higher, shifts fewer and amount of travelers decreases further. Spiral should get reversed: increasing shifts and routes, lower prices, more users… but unfortunately it's easier to write about it than implement it.
Solutions have been contemplated. The leading idea is:
“How could we decrease cars with only one passenger?”
Some improvements have been implemented – schedules and routes have been developed to serve better, ticket system has been renewed, buses are more ecological and they look the same according to the Kemi brand.
We have improved conditions of light traffic by constructing cycle paths, offering office bikes, cargo-bikes to carry e.g. food and children, even office kick sleds (yes, we still have proper winters!) for our employers. And we have offered city-bikes for inhabitants and visitors. Green and Sustainable Kemi project encouraged inhabitants to use buses by offering free tickets on World Car Free Day in September. It would be interesting to hear about innovative traffic solutions that other municipalities have implemented – especially smallish ones like Kemi.
Article by Eija Kinnunen
Project Manager, Green and Sustainable Kemi
Photo by Pentti Korpela
City of Kemi