Thieves seize banknotes from public transport ticket automats in Helsinki
For now, most machines do not accept paper money as a payment option
In years past, many have tried without success. This year somebody finally figured out how to do it and did it.
In a succession of burglaries, thieves managed to clean out several of Helsinki’s public transport automatic ticket machines of all the banknotes inside.
As a remedy, for the present the option of using paper money to pay for a ticket has been removed from the machines.
There are 110 such ticket machines in Helsinki. From now on, only nine of them will accept banknotes.
”Now that there will be much less money in the machines, hopefully that will discourage the thieves from continuing with further break-ins”, says Chief of Building Unit Juha Saarikoski, from Helsinki City Transport (HKL).
HKL owns 83 of the ticket machines. The remaining 27 are operated by the Helsinki Region Transport (HSL).
There are automatic ticket machines, for example, at metro stations, ferry terminals, and the most essential and busiest tram stops.
The thefts took place in waves in the spring and summer of 2010.
The authorities have unravelled the break-in method used by the thieves, but the culprits are still at large.
Even though the police always arrived at the scene within minutes, the criminals managed to evade them each time.
HSL Head of Group Risto Vaattovaara states that more securely locked and better-guarded ticket automats are already making a comeback.
Still, Vaattovaara has both good and bad news.
“The good news is that the option of paying with banknotes will be restored on a case-by-case basis.”
And the bad news?
“This option will not be restored to all machines.”