We are seeking extensive cost savings on bus services next winter

We have outlined the principles according to which we intend to save on bus services during the winter service period 2021-2022. We are seeking savings in the entire HSL area and in all transport services to minimize the harm to our customers. Our goal is to reduce weekly operating costs by two per cent compared to spring 2021.

We have outlined principles for seeking savings on the following winter's bus services. "We will reduce costs extensively throughout the HSL area and on all bus services. In this way, saving measures are distributed in a manner that minimizes the harm to our customers, “says Tero Anttila, Director of Department.

The reason for the saving demands is the coronavirus pandemic. The decrease in passenger numbers has damaged our economy. Currently, public transport passenger numbers are at 40–60 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, depending on the mode of transport.

Shorter journey times reduce operating costs

The primary saving measure is that we strive to benefit from shorter bus journey times. Bus journey times have been speeded up as there are less passengers and other vehicle traffic has decreased.

We already have experience of savings due to increased speed. In February 2021, new timetables were introduced on many bus routes due to shorter journey times, which reduced the costs of bus services to some extent.

The next step is to reassess the peak time service supply. The coronavirus pandemic has, in particular, decreased travelling during peak times. It is likely that the travel demand for peak times will recover more slowly after the pandemic than the travel demand for other times. In addition to reducing services, we are considering shortening peak times. This means shortening the time of the most frequent service.

"Our goal, however, is to keep services during peak times mainly at a good level," says Tero Anttila.

After the above-mentioned measures, we will make savings by cutting operating hours, reducing service frequencies, or discontinuing operating days for certain routes.

Savings of EUR 6 million per year

We have outlined the types of saving measures to be expected for bus services in different municipalities.

In Helsinki, Espoo, and Vantaa, savings are intended to be targeted especially at services during peak times, for example by reducing the service frequencies.

In the autumn of 2021, services in accordance with the Lahdenväylä route network plan will begin in Eastern Vantaa, but the increased service frequencies planned for Saturday service will not take place. Reduced evening service will start earlier than originally planned on many routes .

In Kerava, we will reduce peak time service frequency on regional services to Helsinki. On internal services, individual low-use services will be withdrawn.

In Kirkkonummi, we will reduce operating hours for peak time services, as well as cut the frequent service hours during peak times on individual routes.

In Sipoo, a new transport service agreement will take effect, which will significantly reduce the cost level. In Tuusula, we will withdrawn individual services with low passenger numbers.

"Our goal for the next winter is to reduce the weekly operating costs of bus services by about two per cent compared to spring 2021. The planned savings measures will reduce the operating costs of bus services by about EUR 6 million a year,” says Anttila.