GoSwift (GoSwift)

Published on: 21/03/2014

GoSwift is a Queue Management service which was deployed in 2011 to facilitate border crossings between Estonia and Russia. As confirmed by Raymond Vēyonis, President of the Baltic Assembly and Minister of Environment Protection and Regional Development of Latvia, the current presidency country: "GoSwift solves one of the biggest problems in the Baltics – how to optimise queues at the Russian border”. Before the system was put in place, motor vehicle drivers would queue for an average of three days, and up to eleven days, before being able to cross, which would result in both loss of time and money. These long queues would also bring about social tensions and frustrations in the area and cause environmental issues at crossing points.

GoSwift enables users to pre-register on the website (or via the call centre) and book the precise date and time of their crossing. The system has reduced waiting times to an average of 15 minutes for passenger cars and 2 hours for trucks.

The objectives of the project are to:

  • Facilitate the prediction of time required to cross the border;
  • Provide drivers with the opportunity to plan their journeys more efficiently;
  • Provide smoother service for tourists and businesses;
  • Collect data to optimise the management of border crossing;
  • Tackle illegal activities which developed around the long queues;
  • Tackle issues related to security, waste, and pollution on the roads leading to the check points.

During the first year, it was calculated that 626 000 passenger cars and transportation vehicles crossed the three checkpoints on the Estonia-Russia border. Furthermore, 61% of the reservations were made online through the web page, and the GoSwift call centre received 151 000 calls and answered to 3 800 written inquiries during this period. It was estimated that the system allowed Estonian companies to generate savings for about 4 million euros.

GoSwift has recently been adopted by the Lithuanian government, as well as the Finnish government. It was voted as the best eGovernment service in Estonia in 2013 and among the world’s 40 more innovative eServices by an international jury from the World Summit Award (WSA).

Policy Context

Long queues have been a long standing issue at the border between Estonia and Russia. The Estonian Government decided to resolve this issue after having implemented a pilot project in 2008, which demonstrated the positive impact of a service such as GoSwift to all relevant stakeholders. The project is led by the Ministry of Interior, following discussions with other relevant ministries such as the Ministry of Transport, and the Ministry of Finance.

Description of target users and groups

User groups are both passenger car drivers and truck drivers.

Description of the way to implement the initiative

As confirmed by the the CEO of GoSwift, Mr. Hannes Plinte: “The quick implementation of the GoSwift queue management service was due to the close cooperation by the public and private sector. Without excellent legislation base and trust from the Estonian Ministry of Interior, this project would not have been as successful as it is”. The GoSwfit project is thus the result of a public-private partnership, in which the development and management of the system has been outsourced to a private sector company. The system is fully self-financed as users of the service must pay a fee (1.3 EUR per car), and there was no public financing.

The GoSwift service operator provides:

  • Call-Centre service 24/7;
  • Full technical solution support 24/7;
  • Business Solution (including data of border crossing trends, reporting, statistics etc.);
  • Business management (finding card payment partners, organizing bank fees etc.);
  • IT-Development team.

More information can be found at: http://www.goswift.eu/en/our-service-goswift-queue-management.

Technology solution

The solution relies both on open source software, and proprietary technology. Although some specific interoperability guidelines were imposed by the Estonian government, most technology related decision were left up to the service operator.

Main results, benefits and impacts

GoSwift generates the following benefits:

For drivers:

  • Waiting times are shorter;
  • No need to wait at border;
  • Predictable time for crossing;
  • Better management of work and rest time.

For the country and government:

  • Better risk analysis;
  • Better management of border post resources;
  • Better security and less waste near to the border posts.

Truck companies and goods owners:

  • Higher profit margins through less delays at borders;
  • Predictable arrival time of goods;
  • Better shipping management.

More information can be found at: http://www.goswift.eu/en/our-service-interest-groups

The service operator generates earnings of 100,000 EUR.

Return on investment

Return on investment: €49-299,000

Track record of sharing

The system is currently being used in Estonia, Russia, Lithuania, and now Finland. There is a large potential for re-use of this project.

Lessons learnt

It is difficult to implement such a large-scale project. At first, it proved difficult to convince certain users to pay a fee for the service. However, after one or two months, users understood the benefits of the system, and now fully support the project.

Scope: Cross-border