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Turku to exclude gender info in travel cards

Public transit smart cards in the city of Turku will cease to log customers' gender from 1 December.

Gender-neutral symbols have been used in marking unisex toilets and similar neutral situations for years. Image: Pekka Piippo / Hahmo

The public transport board of Turku has decided to no longer include any gender information about its clients on the city's travel cards.

The decision goes against Turku's earlier stance from June stating that removing the information would make ticket inspections more difficult. Gender data will no longer be included in basic user information starting 1 December.

Travel cards in Finland include basic digital information about their users to curb misuse or theft, as with Turku's Föli service. Conductors and inspectors alike may access the information.

Travel card gender identification became a public talking point in March when a ticket inspector in Turku asked an underage passenger dressed in pink whether they were a boy or girl.

Left Alliance MP Mervi Uusitalo started the gender-neutral initiative in spring. Officials were already aware of issues arising from the data policy at the time.

"We have learned that gender is something that shouldn't be included on a travel pass," public transport chief Sirpa Korte said in March.

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