The City of Espoo and Helsinki Region Transport (HSL) have opened a dialogue to reduce the traffic congestions caused by the recent opening of the western extension of Helsinki Metro.
“The problems and congestions in the public transport system are a cause of grievance at the moment,” Olli Isotalo, the head of technical and environmental services at the City of Espoo, admitted to Uusi Suomi on Thursday.
Espoo, he added, naturally expects that the problems will be resolved by HSL. “There are no other options. People must be able to get around both in the morning and evening. Public transport should be such that you don’t have to fret about it,” he stressed.
The city is eager to find a solution through dialogue particularly because if the problems cannot be solved without providing supplementary transport services, it would likely have to bear most of the costs. Isotalo explained that roughly half of the costs would be covered with fare revenue, while the other half would fall on the shoulders of the municipality acquiring the services.
The negotiations have yet to yield any concrete sums or proposals. Isotalo, however, estimated that a decision should be made as early as by the end of January.
“I’m confident that we’ll get a few proposals for proposals during the course of January. HSL said in advance that after the feeder traffic services are launched, it’ll gather experience for a while and then we’ll see what’s really the problem instead of following our initial hunch.”
“We’ve been focusing so far on identifying what’s technically feasible: what could be done quickly and what would take more time. Once we find a suitable solution, we’ll start looking at the costs. We aren’t approaching this problem with only the costs on our mind, even though they’ll of course be factored in in the latter stages,” told Isotalo.
Rainer Kujala and Christoffer Weckström, doctoral candidates at Aalto University, have calculated that the opening of the western track extension and the subsequent discontinuation of bus services have added up to ten minutes to commutes from various parts of Espoo to Kamppi, Helsinki.
Henrik Vuornos (NCP), a councillor for the City of Espoo, stated earlier this week that a roughly ten-minute increase in commute times is unacceptable. He argued that although the priority should be to provide feeder services to the new metro line, other options should also be on the table.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Antti Aimo-Koivisto – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi