angle-left Travel to Koli is now convenient thanks to public transportation

Travel to Koli is now convenient thanks to public transportation

A new public transport route will begin operating between the Joensuu railway station and Koli. The demand responsive transport service, operating once per day, will bring tourists from Koli to the Helsinki train in the morning and take those arriving in Joensuu by the morning train to Koli. The route will be operated either by a bus or a large taxi, depending on ticket reservations. Tickets should be bought the night before at the latest.

Starting from July, the extremely popular national park will be more accessible than ever: A new demand responsive transport service has been created for passengers of the morning train from Helsinki to Joensuu. Similarly, daily transportation from Koli to the afternoon train to Helsinki will be available. The service will depart from Koli village at 10:50 a.m. and take tourists to the train departing from Joensuu at 12.12 p.m. The service's departure time from Joensuu is 12 p.m., which is 20 minutes after the arrival of the morning train. When needed, the service will make up to 17 stops in the Koli area.

Tickets can be purchased on the Matkahuolto website or via the Trips and Tickets mobile app, which covers public transport services throughout Finland. You can also purchase tickets directly from VR: tickets for connecting buses to Koli can be purchased from the website together with your train ticket. If you sign in to a VR account, you can also add connecting bus tickets to a previously booked train journey.

The demand responsive transport service will be operated by a local taxi company, which will transport passengers by bus or large taxi, depending on ticket reservations. Anyone travelling via Joensuu to Koli can buy a ticket for the service, but the purchase must be made by 6 p.m. the night before. Tickets are not sold on-board – they can only be purchased on Matkahuolto’s website and application as well as in the VR e-shop when buying a train ticket or added to a train journey afterwards.

There is now a connection to the national park also on weekends

The sustainable growth of travel requires efficient travel chains. Koli is one of Finland’s most popular national parks, but getting there without a car has been difficult. Now, visitors can reach it directly from the train every day with just one ticket. Until now, there has been no public transport to Koli on weekends. The only connection has been a bus operating between Joensuu and Nurmes once per day, which had a connecting service to Koli. There were no direct routes at all.

The new direct route to Koli has been promoted through the Pohjoinen Lakeland – Matkailuyritysten kannattava kasvu ja kansainvälistyminen (Northern Lakeland – Sustainable Growth and International Expansion of Tourism Companies) project, which is a joint project of Lieksan Kehitys Oy LieKe and the City of Joensuu. LieKe's CEO Heikki Rusanen views the route to Koli as a significant step in improving the region’s logistical accessibility.

“Improving transport services is one of the most important things that we are doing for Koli. We are happy to be able to tell customers that tickets can be easily purchased on-line and that Koli’s various destinations are reachable with one ticket from Helsinki on any day”, Rusanen says.

Marika Schugk, Director of Customer Experience and Service Development at VR, welcomes the fact that the combined train and bus journey to Koli’s magnificent landscapes and services provides a good alternative for those travelling without their own car and reduces the carbon footprint of travel.

“We want to provide our customers with better and more efficient travel services as well as sustainable alternatives for reaching Finland’s key travel destinations and natural sites, Schugk says.

Unlike traditional bus services, Koli's demand responsive transport service mainly targets tourists. The demand responsive transport service brings them to hotels and accommodation, which increases driving times in Koli. Because of that, the tickets are more expensive than standard bus tickets. The prices are also higher due to the fact that the service is market-based, which means that the taxi company operates the service at its own risk.

Unlike the weekday service with connecting buses, the demand responsive transport service does not receive funding from the Centre for Economic Development or from municipalities.

The distance from Joensuu to Koli is approximately 70 kilometres. The ticket price is EUR 38 one-way/per person, if the group travelling to Koli includes at least three people. Otherwise, the ticket price is EUR 45 one-way/per person. For children under 12, the ticket price is EUR 22,80. When tickets are bought through VR’s channels, a service fee of EUR 2 will be added to the price.