Helsinki Region Transport (HSL) has announced it will overhaul public transport fares in Greater Helsinki as of 1 January 2019.
HSL on Wednesday revealed it will abolish the current municipal border-based fare zones at the beginning of next year and replace them with a system that divides its nine member municipalities into four new fare zones, designated by the letters A, B, C and D.
“The Helsinki region constitutes an integrated commuting area where residents travel across municipal boundaries. In many places, the closest shopping centre, library or swimming hall may be in the neighbouring municipality,” said Suvi Rihtniemi, the executive director of HSL.
“The new zone model will, in many cases, make travel across municipal boundaries much cheaper than at present,” she added.
Helsingin Sanomat highlights that the proposal will raise transport fares inside Helsinki: A 30-day seasonal ticket for zones A and B will cost five euros more than the current internal ticket. A seasonal ticket covering zones B and C will similarly cost five euros more than the current one-zone ticket.
Passengers will not have an option to purchase a ticket only for zone A.
HSL pointed out that the new tickets will allow passengers to travel in a much larger area, thus reducing transport costs for passengers who frequently use single tickets to travel outside the validity zone of their seasonal ticket. Passengers will also be able to opt for an annual ticket that reduces their monthly transport costs by roughly 6–16 euros.
It estimated that passengers the monthly transport costs of passengers who only need an AB or BC ticket will decrease by up to 44 per cent, or 47 euros.
The overhaul will also have an impact on single ticket prices. A single ticket covering zones AB or BC will cost 2.8 euros, representing a significant decrease in the cost of a journey from Helsinki to, for example, eastern Espoo. A journey from Helsinki to Espoo currently costs a minimum of 4.2 euros.
HSL revealed its forecasts indicate that the new fare zones will increase the use of public transport across the capital region by one per cent – or 3.7 million journeys a year – in the long term.
“We have made various calculations of prices during the course of developing the plan. The prices now proposed are based on a growing population and increasing public transport ridership, as well as on keeping the share of municipal funding at 50 per cent,” told Rihtniemi.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Antti Aimo-Koivisto – Lehtikuva