Change to train ticket sales: Buy your ticket before boarding a commuter train

A new customer service model will be introduced on Helsinki region commuter train services on 19 June 2017. Ticket sales on commuter trains will end. Conductors will remain on trains and work in pairs. The change applies to HSL area trains and VR’s commuter trains. At the same time, VR’s commuter traffic area will extend to Tampere.

From 19 June, commuter train passengers need to buy their tickets before boarding the train. Most passengers already buy their tickets elsewhere. Most tickets are purchased from ticket machines or with Travel Card and mobile tickets are rapidly gaining popularity. The share of tickets sold on trains has been steadily decreasin. Last year, the share of ticket sales on trains in VR’s commuter traffic area decreased by 40% from the previous year. The share of tickets sold on HSL-area trains (1.6%) has also steadily decreased.

From 19 June, conductors will work on trains in pairs helping and advising passengers and checking passengers’ tickets. Conductors will serve passengers throughout trains, while previously conductors have only worked in ticket sales carriages. Conductors will move from one train to another. They will work on about 75% of all trains in the area, however visiting trains on busier routes more often. In the evening and at night, there will be conductors on all trains.

– The new practice means that customers will meet our conductors more often than before, which makes staff more accessible and increases customers’ sense of safety. I’m sure it will also decrease fare dodging,” says Teemu Sipilä from VR Commuter Traffic

– HSL is preparing for the tendering of train services from 2021, with the aim of having the most effective commuter train services in Europe. The changes taking place in the coming summer are a step in that direction. Customers have several options for buying tickets. Nearly 500,000 Helsinki region residents have a Travel Card and over 350,000 people have the HSL Mobile app on their phones. In the HSL area, tickets can be purchased on trains as before with Travel Card value. In addition, we will install ticket machines at all HSL-area train stations, allowing passengers to buy tickets with debit and credit cards,” says HSL Director of Customer Experience and Sales, Mari Flink.

VR’s commuter tickets can be conveniently purchased anywhere and at any time on VR Commuter mobile application and online. Tickets for trains to Tampere, Lahti and Siuntio are also available at R-kiosks and from VR Customer Service. VR ticket machines and ticket offices at stations sell both VR and HSL-area tickets.

VR’s commuter traffic area to extend to Tampere

According to surveys, passengers select a commuter train if the price is right, traveling is easy and trains are on time. The punctuality of train services is among the top in Europe. In 2016, punctuality was every month at the same level or better than in the previous year: in 2016, the punctuality of commuter trains was 95.5%. The prices of VR commuter tickets have decreased by an average of 5% a year from 2015. VR aims to harmonize the pricing of the expanding commuter traffic area.

As services on the current commuter routes to Riihimäki, Lahti and Siuntio are same kind of commuter traffic as the services between Riihimäki and Tampere and Riihimäki and Lahti, it is natural that in future passengers will be able to travel by commuter trains until Tampere. In future, tickets must be purchased in advance also for these trains and conductors will work and move between the trains in pairs. More ticket machines will be installed at train stations in the area. Between Riihimäki and Lahti, new ticket machines will be installed by the end of 2017; until then passengers will be able to buy tickets for these sections of route onboard trains.