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Topping up Helsinki transport cards could become pricier

Helsinki Regional Transport will stop paying commissions to ticket-selling kiosks and shops.

File photo of a travel card reader at a metro station. Image: Marja Väänänen / Yle

Helsinki Regional Transport (HSL) has announced that from the start of next year, it will no longer pay shops and kiosks to load travel cards — a move that will save the company five to six million euros annually, according to HSL chair Risto Rautava.

The change will mean that each vendor can decide how much they will charge for the service and could result in public transport users' ending up paying to top up their cards.

HSL’s board was not unanimous on the decision to remove commissions, with the Social Democrats, Greens, and Left Alliance party representatives resisting the proposal.

Meanwhile, Rautava, a conservative National Coalition Party member, said he believed competition among vendors would mitigate any costs trickling down to individual consumers.

"Only time will tell, but I do believe in competition. Loading travel cards may even become more affordable for users if shops use the service as a means of attracting customers," he told Yle.

HSL users can currently top up their transport cards at R-kioskis, hotels, bus and tram stops, as well as some supermarkets and shops across the region. Single tickets can be bought at several car parks outfitted with ticket automats around the city, as well.

As of last year, HSL has been encouraging users to migrate from physical cards to the company’s ticketing app.

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