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Helsinki City Transport plans hike in public transport tariffs next year

Helsinki City Transport plans hike in public transport tariffs next year
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According to information obtained by Helsingin Sanomat, Helsinki City Transport (HKL) plans a hike in some public transport tariffs in the Greater Helsinki area from the turn of next year.
      Especially a single ticket bought from the driver is to rise by as much as 13 per cent, while the price of a single regional ticket is also to be increased by more than 5 per cent. Other ticket types, for instance season tickets, will not be touched.
      Behind the hikes are the soaring costs for the City of Helsinki’s public transport. Fuel prices alone will increase the costs by EUR 5 million.
      In spite of the growing cost burden, HKL and the Helsinki Metropolitan Area Council (YTV) want to maintain the present service level and even to improve it.
      The City Transport Committee is to handle the proposed hikes next week.
From the beginning of 2009, the price of a single ticket on Helsinki buses and trams is likely to be raised from EUR 2.20 to EUR 2.50. The decision is in line with the policy line taken by the City Transport Committee last spring.
      The decision favours regular HKL travellers, as the price of the ordinary Travel Card loaded with a travel period longer than 14 days is not to be increased.
      Another aim is to make travelling smoother, with the demand for single tickets bought from the driver declining in favour of payment before stepping aboard.
The planned tariff hikes will also apply to bus lines chartered by YTV and to regional commuter trains.
      The highest increases will be seen in two-zone regional single tickets bought from the driver and single tickets paid from a rechargable Travel Card (rather than a card entitling the user to travel over a given period of days).
      From the beginning of next January, these tickets will cost around 5% more than at present. The price for the 2-week Travel Card period ticket for adults will also be raised by a couple of per cent, which means an increase of slightly more than EUR 1.00.
The public transport decision-makers regard the hikes as moderate in terms of the current cost pressures. Both YTV and HKL will be able to even out such pressures with their cash reserves.
      ”This year our revenues have been more than 4 per cent higher than anticipated”, says HKL Managing Director Matti Lahdenranta.
      According to Director Niilo Järviluoma, YTV will also be able to even out the soaring prices with their earlier revenues.
      ”However, from year 2010 onwards we will face real problems”, he notes.
Both HKL and YTV would like to maintain the present service level regardless of the soaring costs.
      ”Our purpose is not to reduce but to increase our services”, YTV’s Järviluoma reports.
      He also mentions that there are plans to increase the frequencies of the cross-town bus service known as Jokeri Line.
      HKL has also improved its services, says Lahdenranta, referring to the new No. 9 tram line that has just been launched. This new line is featured in one of our weekly articles to be published later today.
The state’s public transport tariff subsidies to large cities will amount to EUR 5 million next year. According to Järviluoma and Lahdenranta, this is not enough to decrease the tariffs in the Helsinki Metropolitan area.
      After a quick calculation, Lahdenranta estimates that the state subsidy should be EUR 7 million in order to maintain the ticket tariffs at the present level.

  Helsinki Metropolitan Area Council (YTV)
  YTV tickets and fares
  Helsinki City Transport

Helsingin Sanomat

  12.8.2008 - TODAY
 Helsinki City Transport plans hike in public transport tariffs next year

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