Locals in Espoo and Helsinki came out in great numbers to commemorate the inauguration of the West Metro on Saturday.
Helsinki Region Transport (HSL) reveals in a press release that its preliminary estimates indicate that some 220,000 people came out “in good spirits,” curious to experience the two lines and eight stations added to Helsinki Metro on Saturday.
“You could tell that the locals had waited hard for this,” Ville Lehmuskoski, the chief executive of Helsinki City Transport (HKL), commented to Helsingin Sanomat on Sunday.
HSL points out that despite the relatively busy day – roughly 180,000 people are projected to use the metro on a regular Saturday – the trains ran on schedule with the exception of a 15–30-minute disruption caused by a train malfunction in Puotila, Helsinki.
“We were able to stay on schedule very well in light of the kind of day it was and how many people and inexperienced metro users were out and about,” Lehmuskoski added to the newspaper, referring to families with small children and others who do not use the metro regularly but were possibly drawn in by the festive excitement.
The expansion is expected to increase the number of passengers using the metro system by 45,000 on weekdays to 260,000.
Jukka Mäkelä (NCP), the Mayor of Espoo, was one of several policy makers and public figures to hop on the first train from Matinkylä at 5.09am on Saturday.
“Services in Matinkylä-Olari have already improved remarkably because of the metro. Twelve more stores will be opened today. Espoo’s strengths include its network-like character and the tracks,” he tweeted after his first ride on the West Metro.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Antti Aimo-Koivisto – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi