With the exception of train routes between Riihimäki and Lahti, Finnish rail firm VR says it will stop selling tickets aboard its local trains on June 19. Ticket sales will cease on the Riihimäki-Lahti route once ticket automats are installed at every stop - by next year at the latest, the company says.
Even though onboard ticket sales are going away, conductors will still be a fixture on local trains. The conductors will continue to move about the trains and train station platforms, according to Teemu Sipilä, VR's VP of commuter traffic.
Passengers won't be left in the lurch
"Conductors can help people buy tickets on their mobile devices or help them download the right apps to do so," Sipilä said.
Another of the conductors' jobs will be to check all passenger tickets. While they will not have the authority to issue fines to passengers travelling without a ticket, they will be able to remove ticket-less passengers from the train.
Sipilä said that he thinks the conductors will handle the transition period with a lenient approach.
"Even though we're trying to inform the public as much as possible about the changes, it's possible that some people haven't heard about the plans. So the conductors will surely use their better judgment during ticket checks," Sipilä said.
The city's public transport authority, Helsinki Region Transport HSL, oversees all forms of public transportation in the region, and has pledged to help. VR and HSL have agreed upon a transitional period for the ticket sale system until the beginning of September.