Consumer dispute board quiet on Helsinki public transport price hike complaints

The board received around 2,000 requests asking it to review price changes which went into force earlier this year.

Image: HSL

Finland's Consumer Disputes Board said it unanimously decided not to follow up on thousands of complaints filed about Helsinki public transport fare increases that went into effect earlier this year, because it does not have jurisdiction.

The board received around 2,000 notices of complaint from residents who were upset that ticket prices for travel from the city's eastern district of Östersundom (earlier known as Itäsalmi in Finnish) and the municipality of Sipoo were now much higher than before the changes took effect in the spring.

The changes also broadly restructured the region's travel zones, making local bus and train tickets less expensive for some - but dearer for others. The changes also brought in incentives for passengers to swap out their travel cards for a smartphone app.

However, according to the board's director, Pauli Ståhlberg, the board does not have jurisdiction in the matter.

"Those who have filed review requests have asked [the board to examine] whether the joint municipal council's decision was right or wrong. Meaning that [the requests] are not complaints about disputes between a consumer and a trader, Ståhlberg said.

Story continues after images.

A map of Helsinki regional transport's updated zones, which came into force 27 April 2019. Image: Yle / Uutisgrafiikka
Image: Yle / Uutisgrafiikka

The board also received a number of individual requests from residents who wanted it to examine the public transport scheme changes.

The consumer disputes board is a neutral and independent expert body with members representing consumers and businesses. The board's decisions are not legally-binding but instead recommendations. However businesses comply in more than 80 percent of its recommendations, according to the organisation.