Commuter services prepares for a new agreement period

  • Commuter services has acted as its own organisation since 2014.
  • The most important commuter services customer is HSL (Helsinki Region Transport), which purchases train services for the Helsinki region.
  • Zone-based services from Helsinki to Karjaa, Riihimäki and Lahti are also part of commuter services.
  • Every day, commuter services drives 800 rail services and serves around 174,000 customers.

Letter of intent accelerates commuter services

In spring, commuter services and HSL signed a letter of intent on train operations and the maintenance of the Sm5 commuter trains until 2021. The goal of the letter of intent is to prepare and realise the signing of the actual direct award contract in spring 2016.

The letter of intent was enabled by the successful efficiency measures that have been completed in commuter services during the last few years. Under the agreement, VR will introduce new efficiency measures in commuter traffic. Preparation and implementation of the measures is already under way. As part of these efficiency measures, e.g. rolling stock, a new service model, customer satisfaction and punctuality will be assessed.

The new contract period will mean changes in the job description for conductors. Ticket sales in HSL traffic trains will end by the end of 2016 and a new moving conductor model will be implemented in 2017. In the new model, train personnel move from one train to the next in pairs to ensure the availability of customer service and the safety of passengers. The implementation of the model is being prepared in close collaboration with other actors.

Using the Ring Rail Line link to the airport

June 2015 saw the opening of the the Finnish Transport Agency’s Ring Rail Line project, the first direct rail link between Helsinki Central Railway Station and Helsinki Airport. The travel time from the railway station to the airport is under 30 minutes and the price of the ticket is the same as a normal regional HSL ticket.

The long-term planning work that preceded the opening of the Ring Rail Line was begun in 2013 with various different actors. The planning included a tremendous amount of test drives, refining timetables and detailed planning on rolling stock rotation and track use. This new kind of line caused changes to working shifts and safety, and these were closely worked on with personnel.

With the Ring Rail Line, train unit kilometres increased by a quarter in commuter traffic. Due to this increase in traffic, commuter services is recruiting a total of around 200 new drivers and conductors.

The Ring Rail Line serves the whole railway network of Finland, and long-distance train passengers can use the Ring Rail Line with the same long-distance ticket without any added costs.

  • In HSL’s customer satisfaction survey that was conducted in the summer of 2015, commuter traffic did very well, with a satisfaction rate of 91.8 % for commuter traffic passengers (87.85 % in 2014).