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HSL cuts transit services in Helsinki region

Most of the changes in August affect bus and train traffic. Metro services will continue to expand on schedule.

HSL:n kuljettaja on suojautunut hanskoilla ja hengityssuojaimella 25. maaliskuuta.
HSL passenger volumes have not yet recovered to pre-pandemic levels (file photo). Image: Kalevi Rytkölä / Yle

Public transport services will be trimmed in the Helsinki region as of 10 August.

The Helsinki Regional Transport Authority (HSL) said on Thursday that has been forced to halt some routes and cut back on others due to its suddenly worsened fiscal situation. The changes will particularly impact bus and train traffic.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused a significant drop in revenues for HSL and weakened the finances of its nine member municipalities, the authority said on Thursday.

HSL passenger volumes have not yet recovered to pre-pandemic levels.

HSL says it will target the cutbacks on routes and times with few passengers, and without excessively undermining service to any particular areas.

A few bus routes will be cancelled altogether, including 67v in Helsinki and 238, 244k and 565b in Espoo.

Meanwhile Metro services will be expanded according to plan.

For instance the maximum frequency of departures – every 2.5 minutes between Itäkeskus in eastern Helsinki and Tapiola in Espoo – will start half an hour earlier in the morning and continue an hour later in the evening.

Minister: State won't intervene in local decisions

Transport Minister Timo Harakka pointed out that the state has granted 100 million euros in subsidies for the mass transit agencies hit hard by the pandemic, and that most of that has gone to the capital Helsinki region, which is home to nearly a quarter of the country's population.

Harakka noted that the state has issued guidelines for coronavirus protection measures for public transport, but added that "we are not going to begin directing municipal decision-making from the state level."

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