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I feel like HSL is punishing me

February 21, 2017

Helsinki Regional Transport (HSL/HRT), the public transit authority in the Helsinki region, has undergone a huge transformation in the last few years. When I first moved here and was using public transit to get around, the regional transport network only included Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen. If you took the train outside of those municipalities, you travelled in what was Finnish State Rail territory (VR). Several bus companies in surrounding municipalities had their own fee schedules and so on for people travelling to the HSL/HRT region from outlying communities.

That has changed a lot in recent years: expansion of the rail network to Leppävaara (finished long ago!), the development of Kamppi and the mail railway station in Helsinki to accommodate regional bus traffic, the expansion of the rail network to include a direct connection to Lahti, the airport railway network expansion and several municipalities negotiating to join the HSL/HRT network – the most recent of those being Tuusula just a week or so ago.

Of course up to this point I have failed to mention the West Metro (Länsimetro) expansion to Espoo, which should have opened up last August (to much fanfare and massive changes to bus transport in Espoo). The project has had cost overruns and been plagued by safety issues, which have significantly delayed its opening. I won’t spend a lot of time delving into the history of the delays, all you have to do is put “West Metro Espoo” into any search engine and you’ll get a pretty comprehensive look at the issue.

While I can normally get around quite easily in Espoo by bus, I do have an issue with the rearranging of the bus network that I depend on to get from home to work and back again. Once the new schedules come on line (whenever the metro opens), I will have to take two buses to get to and from work (plus a lot of walking to get to the right stop), totalling well over two hours spent walking and being on public transit per day. I live and work in Espoo and I feel like I am going to be punished for using public transport. We have been a one-car family for YEARS and we have managed to work things out quite well. That looks set to change.

I already get up at a crazy early hour to get to work and put in a full day, as the Mr. has the car the most of the time. I take the Little Miss to and from her hobbies in the evening and on weekends (with the car – or we get a ride when needed). I have a feeling that our current routine will change a lot next season, she is getting older, so the practice times will change as will the game and tournament schedules… Let’s just say, that with those changes coming, I really can’t afford to spend a lot of time on public transit. I need to make efficient use of my time – and spending 10 hours+ per week on public transit in Espoo (where I remind you, I work and live), is not at all efficient. I hate to say it: I think we need to get a second car.

I didn’t want to do this HSL, but you have practically forced my hand by punishing those who live and work in Espoo and use public transit to get around…

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. anonymous permalink
    February 22, 2017 10:22 am

    Obviously they’re optimizing things based on stuff (probably usage stats, etc.) but their data is incomplete because the system doesn’t require you to swipe the card when leaving the vehicle (thank whoever!). I would contact the HSL to register your complaint (and your reasons for it). (Of course, the problem may also be your neighbours not using public transportation. They won’t run a bus line for one person.)

    • March 2, 2017 11:15 am

      Believe me, I will be contacting them to register my beef with them. The bus lines I use are heavily used. Fortunately this is mostly a winter time issue for me, at least in the summer I can ride my bike and use my kickboard to get around.

      • anonymous permalink
        March 3, 2017 6:02 pm

        I suppose you could get yourself a potkukelkka for winters.

      • March 28, 2017 1:07 pm

        That also depends on how much snow we have! I have a potkulautta already… 🙂

  2. February 24, 2017 4:43 am

    How annoying for you! Living in Helsinki I didn’t realise the metro would have such an effect on the public transport in Espoo.

    • anonymous permalink
      February 24, 2017 11:14 am

      Well, at the very least they (thankfully) have to replace the bus caravan on Länsiväylä and re-arrange the connecting transport.

      • March 2, 2017 11:16 am

        It is the connecting transport that I use – and that will cause me the headaches I wrote about. 😛

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