Public transport in Helsinki

Public transport in Helsinki

Public transport in Helsinki consists of bus, tram, metro, train, and ferry services. The system is managed by Helsinki City Transport (HKL) for the lines that remain in Helsinki and by Helsinki Metropolitan Area Council (YTV) for the routes running in several municipalities, mostly including the surrounding municipalities of Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen.

Helsinki's diverse public transport system consists of trams, light commuter rail, the subway, bus lines and two ferry lines. The Helsinki Metropolitan Area Council manages traffic to neighbouring municipalities.

Today, Helsinki is the only city in Finland to have trams or subway trains. There used to be two other cities in Finland with trams: Turku and Viipuri (Vyborg). However, Turku abandoned trams in 1972 and Viipuri (at that time already part of the Soviet Union) abandoned them in 1957.

The Helsinki Metro, opened in 1982, was the first, and so far the only, subway-system in all of Finland. For the first 16 years of its existence, the line was topologically only one straight line, but in 1998 a fork with three stations each was added at the eastern end of the line. In 2006 the construction of the long debated extension of the subway system west into Espoo was approved in Espoo City Council, and serious debate about an eastern extension into Sipoo has taken place [] - an information portal dedicated to the "länsimetro" subway expansion in the Helsinki capital region.] . To cope with the rising usage the Helsinki Metro is also planned to be further automated by 2010, allowing trains to run without drivers and therefore be able to run on shorter time-intervals in between trains.

Trains depart from the Central Railway Station and Pasila to destinations across Finland. Pendolinos offer higher speed (220km/h) connections to major cities, as do Intercity and Intercity2 trains at slightly slower speeds, and regional and suburban trains cover all of the YTV region and smaller cities as far north as Riihimäki and Lahti, and as far west as Karjaa. A tunnel has been proposed to connect Helsinki with Tallinn, though the proposal is still in the investigation phase. Keharata, a project to connect Helsinki-Vantaa Airport with the national rail network and down town Helsinki, has been approved and construction should be completed by 2013.




Internal bus routes of Helsinki ("Helsingin sisäiset linjat") can be found almost anywhere in Helsinki. For some parts of the city these buses provide the backbone of the public transportation system.Fact|date=June 2008

The routes are drawn and the timetables set by HKL, but operated by independent companies. HKL holds a competition for each route or a set of routes, and the company offering to operate the route for the best quality-price ratio will get the contract. The quality is measured with a pointing system which gives points for such aspects as the quietness and size of the buses that would be used.

Many of the buses operate as a feeder lines for the Helsinki Metro or VR commuter rail. This is especially true for eastern Helsinki.

Nearly all other routes have the other end of the line in the downtown near the Helsinki Central railway station.

The line numbers for the internal lines contain two digits and for some a letter.

Most lines are operated between 5:30 and 23:45, the most popular between 5:30 and 1:30. Nighttime lines which operate only from 23:45 to 1:30 (and sometimes early morning) are signified by letter N. Lines 01N-09N operate from 2:00 to 5:00 but only on Friday-Saturday and Saturday-Sunday nights.


The regional bus lines are managed by YTV in similar manner to the management of the internal lines by HKL. The regional lines have been designed for moving people between important points in the metropolitan area or for the sole purpose of getting to downtown Helsinki. These lines tend to use the fastest possible way to get out of Helsinki, usually through motorways. They have also quite often newer buses than in HKL routes and more empty seats. Because of that they are popular among the people living along the routes inside Helsinki.weasel-inline

Most regional lines that come to downtown end either on Rautatientori (from eastern Vantaa) and Elielinaukio (from western Vantaa and northern Espoo) next to the Central Railway Station or in the Kampin Keskus, a modern bus terminal (from southern Espoo).

The operating hours for the regional lines are similar to those of the internal lines, but the departures are not as frequent as the city lines.

The line numbers are composed of three digits and occasionally a letter accompanying them, which means a different route than the normal route.


The trams provide transportation in the downtown and areas close to it. The network is composed of 11 lines. Over 50 million trips are made with the trams each year.

The trams are managed and operated by HKL. Line numbers are 1-10 and for some an accompanying letter.

New line no. 9 will be opened in 2008.


The metro is the backbone of the public transportation for East Helsinki. There is a single line with two branches. The whole system has 17 stations. Plans for several extensions are in the works. By 2011, all trains should be automatic without drivers.

The metro is managed and operated by HKL.

Commuter train

The commuter train system is the backbone for the areas northeast and northwest from downtown. The network reaches relatively far from Helsinki, and there are more departures from stations near Helsinki and less lines to farther off. It is managed by YTV and operated by VR.


Helsinki has two ferry lines, both operated by Suomenlinnan Liikenne Oy. Ferries connect Suomenlinna to the mainland. The ferries are the only connection to the mainland for the residents of Suomenlinna, though a tunnel for emergency vehicle access is in place.



The public transportation system has two zones: internal and regional. Internal covers a single city and regional the whole Helsinki metropolitan area. The different areas are symbolised by different colours: Blue signifies Helsinki, green signifies Espoo and Kauniainen, red signifies Vantaa and purple signifies the entire metropolitan area.

Ticket types

The transport system offers a vast number of different tickets and several ways to get them.

Single fare tickets can be bought from bus drivers, tram operators, automats, and by a text message. Each metro station, ferry stop, and train station is equipped with at least one ticket automat.

Most users of the public transport have a Travel Card ("Matkakortti"), an RFID card used as an electronic ticket. Users can load period ("kausi") and value ("arvo") on their cards. Period ticket offers unlimited travel for the dates paid for. Value is used to pay for one trip, which may contain changes. The price of a single trip is lower when paid with the travel card instead of buying a single fare ticket.

Internal single trip tickets are valid for one hour (for the eastern and north eastern feeder lines 80 minutes). For regional tickets the transfer time is 80 minutes.

Ticket prices

For the transportation system, a child is anyone aged 7–16. Anyone under the age of 7 may ride for free. Adults with children aged 0–7 in a pram or carriage may travel for free. Permanently resident blind people, disabled war veterans and front-veterans are eligible for free travel. []

Fare collection

The transport system uses the proof-of-payment approach for fare collection for the metro, local trains, trams and ferries. In the buses the driver checks the tickets as passenger step in. Ticket controllers check tickets on randomly selected vehicles and a penalty fee of 80 EUR and a price of a single ticket is charged from any passenger without a valid ticket. If a passenger has forgotten his/her Travel Card with valid travel period, the passenger may later visit a service point of the transport company and will not have to pay the penalty fee.

ee also

* Public transport
* Urban sprawl


External links

* [ HKL official site]
* [ YTV official site]
* [ Journey Planner for the Helsinki region]
* [ - Information about transportation and maps in Helsinki region]

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