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Turku scraps plans to introduce gender-neutral travel passes

Turku public transport says it will not introduce gender-neutral travel passes for now, due to uncertainty about how ticket inspections would be conducted.

File photo of city bus in Turku. Image: Lotta Sundström / Yle

Turku's public transportation outfit Föli announced on Wednesday that it will not introduce gender-neutral travel passes for the time being.

Sirpa Korte, who heads public transport services in Turku, said a gender-neutral travel card would change the way passes are inspected.

At the moment, Föli passes show drivers and ticket inspectors the gender of the person to whom they have been issued. This feature was included in the system to help reduce the misuse of discount passes.

What prompted the discussion?

The topic of gender-neutral passes arose in the spring when a ticket inspector in Turku inquired about the gender of a child dressed in pink. The inspector thought the child was a girl while the pass in question was issued to a boy.

Korte says gender-neutral passes would require passengers to carry personal IDs to prove that they are not using another person’s card. It is also not clear what kinds of costs the new system would incur.

Korte says gender information is important for the development and marketing of Föli's services.

Panda Eriksson, who chairs the association for transgender and intersex rights Trasek, is disappointed.

"This is an important issue that could be fixed," Eriksson said.

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