Improvements to crosstown public transport in Helsinki in the early 2020s

On 16 April, the Executive Board of HSL approved the Helsinki crosstown route network development plan. The plan aims to change crosstown bus services on Koskelantie, Hakamäentie and Metsäläntie as well as in Maunula approximately in August 2021.

The new crosstown bus network aims to improve bus services in Helsinki by providing more frequent service and longer operating hours. At present, this level of service is provided on routes to Helsinki city center, on rail services and on trunk routes 550 and 560 (from August 2019 also routes 500 and 510). Otherwise crosstown services consist of miscellaneous routes with varying operating hours and service frequencies. Especially outside peak hours, difficult and time-consuming interchanges make crosstown travel troublesome.

With the new crosstown routes, HSL will take a step towards more networked public transport providing smooth, frequent service also outside peak hours in many directions. In addition, the plan is based on the premise that trunk bus 550 will be replaced by a new light-rail link.

Frequently running bus services are the cornerstone of transport

In the new crosstown route network, bus routes are divided into three categories according to their level of service: frequently running routes, basic routes and complementary routes.

Frequently running (every 10 minutes during the daytime) routes are:

  • 52 (Kannelmäki – Huopalahti station – Munkkivuori – Otaniemi)
  • 56 (Kalasatama (M) – Käpylä – Metsälä – Kannelmäki)
  • 57 (Kontula (M) – Viikki – Koskela – Ruskeasuo – Munkkiniemi)
  • 59 (Sompasaari – Kalasatama (M) – Pasila station – Konala – Malminkartano)

Basic routes (running every 15–20 minutes during the daytime) are:

  • 23 (Railway Square – Pasila station – Postipuisto – Maunula – Pirkkola)
  • 63 (Kamppi – Ruskeasuo – Postipuisto – Maunula – Paloheinä)
  • 506 (Myllypuro (M) – Viikki – Viikinmäki – Kumpula – Pasila station – Meilahti – Ruskeasuo)

Complementary routes (every 20 minutes during the daytime) are:

  • 33 (Haaga – Munkkivuori – Munkkiniemi – Tarvo)
  • 53 (Arabia – Oulunkylä station – Maunula – Pohjois-Haaga – Pitäjänmäki station – Uusmäki)

Residents involved in route network planning

HSL has been planning the new route network in close cooperation with residents and other interested parties in the area. During the planning process, HSL held three residents’ meetings (in Maunula, Munkkiniemi and downtown Helsinki). In addition, HSL provided information about the progress of planning on a blog opened for the plan.

HSL received feedback on the draft plans at the residents’ meetings as well as on the blog and the plan was revised based on the feedback. The biggest change was the establishment of route 53 to replace the withdrawn routes 38 and 51.

New route network expected to be rolled out in August 2021

HSL’s goal is to introduce the new route network in August 2021. However, if works on the Raide-Jokeri light rail link are underway at that time, the changes to the route network may have to be introduced in phases.

The new route network will cost about 23.72 million euros a year, just over one million euros more than the current route network. The increased costs are due to the growth of Helsinki: the new route network will also serve the new residential area of Postipuisto.

On some sections of route with low ridership, journeys will require transfers in the future.

Changes to the route network in a nutshell

  • Routes 38, 50, 51 and 552 will be withdrawn and their service replaced by changes to other routes.
  • Bus 23 will be rerouted to run via Pasila to Maunula and Pirkkola. Invalidisäätiö in Ruskeasuo will be served by route 506.
  • Neighborhood route 33 will start running more frequently and the route will be extended from Munkkivuori to Haaga.
  • Bus 52 will be rerouted to run from Kannelmäki via Huopalahti station and Munkkivuori to Otaniemi. The bus will no longer run between Arabia and Huopalahti station and at the other end, the route will be extended to Otaniemi. In addition, the bus will start running more frequently.
  • New route 53, Arabia – Oulunkylä station – Maunula – Pohjois-Haaga – Pitäjänmäki station – Uusmäki.
  • Route 59 will be extended from Pitäjänmäentie to Konala and Malminkartano.
  • Bus 63 will run via the new Postipuisto residential area.
  • Bus 506 will start runningn via Viikinmäki. At the other end, the route will be extended from Töölön tulli to Invalidisäätiö in Ruskeasuo.

Link to the draft plan report (in Finnish):

Click on the map (PDF) to enlarge it!

Kartta Helsingin poikittaislinjaston kehittämissuunnitelmassa uudistuvista linjoista