Train service improvements as incentive for Järvenpää to join HSL
The combined headway of train services between Helsinki and Järvenpää could be shortened to approximately 15 minutes on weekdays and Saturdays in August 2025. However, this would require that Järvenpää make a decision on becoming a member of HSL at the beginning of 2025. The decision would have to be made no later than in January 2024.
From August 2025, new J trains would run between Helsinki and Järvenpää on weekdays in the daytime and on Saturdays. The new trains would serve the stations in Pasila, Tikkurila, Kerava and Ainola. Together with R and D trains, the J trains would operate a 15-minute headway between Helsinki and Järvenpää from approximately 6am to 7pm on weekdays in the daytime and from approximately 9am to 6pm on Saturdays. This would double the supply of train services on weekdays outside peak hours and on Saturdays.
However, implementing the additional train services require that Järvenpää make a decision on becoming part of HSL at the beginning of 2025. The decision must be made no later than in January 2024. If Järvenpää decides to join HSL as a member, HSL has committed to applying for an increase to the track capacity from the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency. The final decision on granting the increase will be made by the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency. The Executive Board of HSL decided on the matter on Tuesday 21 November.
The Executive Board of HSL also decided to terminate the ticketing agreement with Järvenpää. The termination will become effective at the beginning of 2025. The agreement has made it possible for the residents of Järvenpää to purchase HSL season tickets for zones ABC, BC, ABC and D at a more affordable price.
The ticketing agreement is meant for municipalities outside the HSL area. The agreement entitles the residents of said municipalities to purchase HSL season tickets at the same price as the residents of HSL member municipalities. However, the situation of Järvenpää changed in 2018, when Tuusula joined HSL and Järvenpää was basically surrounded by the HSL area. For instance, all journeys from the HSL area to Jokela and Kellokoski in Tuusula go through Järvenpää. From the beginning of 2018, passengers have been able to use HSL tickets on trains and HSL buses that serve Järvenpää. It is a one-of-a-kind situation in Finland and makes Järvenpää unique among the neighboring municipalities.
The special arrangement has also meant that the residents of the nine HSL member municipalities have supported the journeys that the residents of Järvenpää have made on HSL’s public transport as well as a significant share of the public transport services in Järvenpää in the form of tax revenue. The current member municipalities of HSL deem this arrangement unjust.
If Järvenpää decides to join HSL at the beginning of 2025, the termination of the ticketing agreement will have no effect on the services available to customers living in Järvenpää. On the contrary, the level of service will improve. Furthermore, the residents of Järvenpää will be able to purchase more affordable season tickets for the entire ABCD area. If Järvenpää decides to sign up for membership, HSL has committed to engage in a long-term development of the city’s public transport together with the City of Järvenpää.
In October 2019, Järvenpää made a decision on joining HSL at the beginning of 2022 under the condition that improvements be made to the train services between Helsinki and Järvenpää. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other reasons, Järvenpää decided to postpone this decision.
If Järvenpää does not make a decision on joining HSL by January 2024, or, if the decision is postponed, it will also delay the process of applying for an increase to the track capacity to accommodate the new J trains. In addition, this would also mean that the residents of Järvenpää would no longer be able to purchase certain HSL season tickets at a subsidized price from the beginning of 2025.