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Helsinki's first electric buses hit the road

The Helsinki Regional Transport Authority’s (HSL) vision is to power a third of its fleet in the Helsinki metropolitan area with electricity by 2025.

Sähköbussi
The electric buses will operate on line 23. Image: Ronnie Holmberg / Yle

Helsinki bus driver Aino-Maija Nurmiainen gave the new electric buses a spin for the first time last week.

”It was quite exciting, but I’ve gotten used to it now,” she says.

Beginning Monday the 16th of January, passengers will be able to hop on the new buses on line 23 from the Central Railway Station to Ruskeasuo.

Aino-Maija Nurmiainen
Aino-Maija Nurmiainen Image: Ronnie Holmberg / Yle

A new era of public transport

The Helsinki Regional Transport Authority’s (HSL) vision is to power a third of its fleet in the Helsinki metropolitan area with electricity by 2025. HSL has yet to announce how this would influence ticket prices.

”Acquiring these new buses initially costs more than their diesel equivalents, but they are cheaper to maintain and have a longer lifespan,” says HSL executive director Suvi Rihtniemi.

Not only are they more cost-efficient, they produce less air pollution.

”We are on the verge of a new era. We are moving towards electric buses at a great speed, and consequently helping to improve air quality in Helsinki,” Rihtniemi adds.

Quieter, smoother

While passengers are unlikely to notice a significant difference in the new vehicles, driver Aino-Maija Nurmiainen can feel it in her fingertips.

”The new buses make it so much easier to drive smoothly than hybrid cars do. The passengers will probably notice how quiet the ride is,” she says.

There’s just one thing keeping Nurmiainen on her toes. How will the new buses fare in the harsh Finnish winter?

”Temperatures haven’t dropped below -30 yet, so we shall see. Let’s hope for the best!”

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