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Go where the people are: The Netti-Nysse bus in Tampere

How was it achieved and who was involved? 

When the idea of the internet bus was born in 2000 it fitted perfectly into the strategic framework of the City of Tampere and its ambitious e-government programme at that time. Afterwards the bus became a permanent service of the local library.

To deliver ICT services via the bus, many technical issues had to be resolved. The bus needs electricity and air conditioning, even when the engine is turned off. It needs to be a comfortable place to work when the outside temperature is between -25C and +25C. The internet connection needs to work everywhere and has to be strong enough for 11 computers. We have found solutions for all of these issues. The technology of the bus has been up-dated over the years.

The service concept of an internet bus has been developed together with customers. The services need to be flexible and open to all communities. The most important success factor has been the informal atmosphere inside the bus. Once people feel that they are getting the support they need, have been treated well and have had a good time, they will recommend the internet bus to their friends. Our customers are our salespeople and marketing outlets - there are no better ones!

Our staff have a strong customer service background. They never lose patience and they find the right words to explain difficult issues. We try to make it easy for our customers to relax with us. Computers generally scare people. Once you relax you learn, when you learn you get excited. People don’t want to be reminded of being back at school, surrounded by teachers. So, if some people need an hour to learn how to use the mouse, that is alright, because we are here to help them to get familiar with the technology. At any one time, we can have 10 persons using the computers and two tutors in the bus. Sometimes, we work even with smaller groups, if people are scared of the technology. The computers are set up in such a way in the bus that everyone has enough privacy to focus on his/her learning and, at the same time, the helper is always near.

The public health service started in autumn 2012. The bus is hired for health services two days a week and one evening shift per month. The health bus service stops in four places in the suburbs where it stays for two hours. The health staff provide local people with information on their medication, measure their blood pressure and most importantly, talk about their health concerns and decide if they need to see a doctor. Local people are made familiar with self-help sources available on the internet. During the health visit the internet is often used and local people are encouraged and supported to find useful information online. If they lack of basic ICT skills, ‘first aid’ is given straight away and a place on a basic course is reserved. This pilot is currently planned to run at least until the end of 2013.

We are normally approached by active people who also know other people in the same district where we have parked the bus. We think that this way of approaching people has advantages as they know each other, so that they feel confident in the bus. Whatever service is provided on the bus, we always encourage people to talk to each other and to share their knowledge. 

About this case study
Main Contact

Elina Harju

Learning Bridge Project

Education Export Network in the Tampere region, Finland
www.tredea.fi/learning-bridge/

Phone: +358 405088521
elina@opinpaja.net

Elina Harju wrote this case study for Governance International on 23 May 2013.

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