Helsinki City Transport to increase cameras, guards, and inspectors
In order to improve the safety of passengers on public transport in the capital region, Helsinki City Transport is to improve the lighting of metro stations, to increase the number of guards and ticket inspectors, and to add more surveillance cameras to buses and trains.
These measures are part of the public transport safety strategy which has been compiled jointly by the Helsinki City Transport, the Helsinki Metropolitan Area Council, the Finnish rail operator VR, and the police.
The aim is that citizens would be able to use public transport without feeling insecure or without experiencing harassment. In practice, this means that the zero tolerance policy will continue to be enacted on all forms of regional public transport.
The strategy is a follow-up to the campaign which was launched last year, attempting to halt vandalism and disturbing behaviour on public transport in the Greater Helsinki area.
Helsinki City Transport (HKL) increased the number of transit guards already at the beginning of the current year. At that point, another squad of new guards was engaged to patrol the metro lines and to protect the security of passengers against disturbances.
Another two squads of transit guards are being hired now to secure the safety of metro and tram passengers, particularly in the evenings and at weekends.
The intention is also to employ 16 new ticket inspectors during 2007. Last year the number of inspectors was already increased by eight persons.
"Frequently, fare-dodgers are those who cause disturbances", says Planning Director Ville Lehmuskoski of HKL, thus justifying the increase in the number of ticket inspectors.
The safety of metro stations will be allocated approximately EUR 100,000 from the annual budget of HKL. The perceived security of public transport will be enhanced by improving the lighting, by eliminating the fringe areas, and by increasing camera surveillance in the metro stations.
These improvements will be made in connection with the general renovation of metro stations. Helsinki's Herttoniemi metro station was chosen as the first target for security enhancement.
Further ideal targets include the Tapiola bus terminal in Espoo and the Martinlaakso railway station in Vantaa.
More surveillance cameras are also to be installed on buses and trains. In fact, some of the buses in Helsinki already have access to a mobile broadband network, which makes it possible to send a surveillance image via the Internet for example to the control centres of the bus terminals.
In the future, camera surveillance is likely to be installed in all buses. All metro trains are to be included in the camera surveillance system by 2012 at the latest. By then all metro lines will be entirely automated.
Police will contribute to the maintaining of law and order on public transport. A joint register is being planned, in which all incidents involving vandalism spotted on public transport in the Greater Helsinki area would be recorded.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Bus passengers feel insecure particularly in Helsinki area (5.1.2007)
Helsinki City Transport (HKL)
Helsinki Metropolitan Area Council (YTV)
VR Finnish Railways