Commuters at Helsinki Central on 13 March 2021. The light-rail options of commuters in the capital region could increase significantly in the next roughly 15 years, envisions Helsinki Region Transport (HSL). (Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)

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HELSINKI REGION TRANSPORT (HSL) has unveiled a set of ambitious sustainability goals, reports YLE.

The joint local authority revealed yesterday it intends to slash the carbon dioxide emissions from its operations by 90 per cent by 2025 relative to the levels of 2010 and provide all public transport services in an emission-free fashion by 2030.

“This is an ambitious goal,” acknowledged Mika Nykänen, CEO of HSL. “We want to have a leading role in sustainable mobility. We must take a more active role in the city’s ecosystem.”

The newly published strategy also underlines the importance of compensating for the revenue losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic, according to YLE. Nykänen told that the service provider is seeking to outperform the forecast for passenger volumes for this year by 70 per cent by 2025 in order to offset the year-on-year drop of 37 per cent in fare revenue and passenger volumes witnessed in 2020.

HSL on Tuesday also presented its vision for expanding the light-rail network in the capital region, highlighting that if all of the municipal projects are carried out, the network could consist of up to 20 lines and cover large parts of the region by mid-2030s.

Operating the trams is consequently expected to cost up to three times as much as today.

The light-rail network is set to expand in the coming years in Pasila, Hernesaari, Jätkäsaari, Kalasatama and Ilmala. Services on the first rapid light-rail route in the capital region, in turn, are set to begin between Itäkeskus, Helsinki, and Keilaniemi, Espoo, in 2024.

Nykänen pointed out that laying down railways and tramways also has an impact on urban development, as the new residential areas that sprout along the routes will belatedly have a positive economic impact on both the city and HSL.

“Our challenge in this strategy term is that the infrastructure costs of tram operations will be due relatively soon. It creates financial pressure, but at the same time it enhances the appeal of public transport,” he said.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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