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HSL aims to lower fares for long-distance commuters

Helsinki Region Transport wants to entice people in outer suburbs to switch from cars to mass transit.

HSL:n sähköbussi
Mass transit outside the A and B zones relies on buses and trains. Image: Jouko Tapper / Yle

Helsinki Region Transport (HSL) plans to lower train and bus fares for residents of outer suburbs to encourage them to opt for public transportation instead of driving.

The price cut would take effect at the beginning of next year. It must still be approved by the HSL board.

"We particularly want to encourage those making long journeys to use public transport, as switching from driving to mass transit for three- and four-zone trips is most beneficial in terms of meeting emissions reduction targets and smooth functioning of the transportation system," CEO Suvi Rihtniemi said in an HSL statement. Meanwhile the government intends to introduce congestion fees for motorists driving into Helsinki.

Revenues exceed expectations

The authority says that it can afford to trim prices because ticket sales have been better than expected lately.

HSL is a joint local authority that includes the capital and eight surrounding municipalities, making up roughly a third of the Uusimaa region. As of this year, HSL has divided the region into four zones, designated A to D based on their distance from central Helsinki and cutting across municipal boundaries.

Under the proposal, prices would drop by 2.4 percent for tickets categorised as ABC, BCD, CD and ABCD.

Zone C includes parts of Espoo, Kauniainen and Vantaa, as well as the easternmost corner of Helsinki. Zone D encompasses Kerava, Sipoo and Tuusula to the east, plus Kirkkonummi and Siuntio to the west.

HSL says the biggest benefit would be to those living in the C and D zones. There would be no change to the cost of AB, BC or internal D tickets. The price cut would not apparently affect tickets for any tram, Metro or ferry routes.

The HSL board is to make a final decision on the fare cut next Tuesday.

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