VR has thrown its hat in the ring as one of the transport providers that is interested in assuming operational responsibility for the pending Tampere light rail system.
“People are moving to the cities in droves and urban traffic is going to increase as a result. [The Tampere tram] would be a natural fit for us, and an interesting new area of business,” said VR’s director of commuter traffic Topi Simola.
“We are interested in operating the trams and everything that is connected to it: timetable planning, control operations and driver administration,” he said.
Could create 100 jobs
Simola estimates that the first phase of the Tampere tram build would provide jobs for about 100 VR employees, but says real figures wouldn’t be clear until later.
VR plays an active role in urban transport in the Helsinki region, where it is responsible for the operations of commuter trains and maintenance of rolling stock. The group also owns one of the largest bus companies providing services in the capital city area, Pohjolan Liikenne.
Other VR Group business operations include road freight, catering and real estate management services, along with data, technological, and telecommunications services for the transport and logistics sectors.
Recent figures showed a total of 21 companies with 14,400 employees working under the VR Group banner.
A promise to be on time
VR has been plagued with punctuality problems over the last few years, particularly when it comes to its commuter train services. Simola is confident that VR would be a steward of a prompt tram service in Tampere – despite the well-known fact that light rail systems are easily susceptible to complications due to leaves and snow.
“We have lots of experience in developing reliability. We, of all operators, are highly motivated to carry out this new mode of transportation successfully and on time.”