Bus stop announcements are expanding to six routes this week

This week audio announcements are introduced on six bus routes in Eastern Helsinki, Lauttasaari and Kulosaari. The announcements can be heard on routes 16, 20(N), 21(B), 54, 90(A, N) and 96(N).

Stop announcements tell the name of the next stop in Finnish and Swedish. The name of the next stop is announced a moment before the bus arrives at the stop. So far, stop announcements have been used on tram services and on main bus routes. Audio announcement systems are already in use on the metro and commuter train services. On buses, the announcements will be rolled out in phases over the spring, one operator at a time. By introducing the announcements in stages, it is possible to adjust equipment based on feedback received from passengers and drivers if necessary.

Announcements will be introduced in about 1,000 buses and about 5,000 audio files will be uploaded into each vehicle. Information on route-specific commissioning will be provided on the HSL.fi website as well as on bus stop displays on the respective routes. After commissioning, all HSL public transport services, including the metro, trams, commuter trains and buses, will have a public announcement system in place as a part of HSL's passenger information system.

Aiming for improved accessibility and easier travel

The voice for the announcements was chosen together with our customers from four different options, the functionality of which was tested both on a mobile bus and on a tram in downtown Helsinki. The voice chosed to read the announcements received clearly the highest level of support among the visually impaired, other passengers and voice experts. The aim was to find a clear, distinctive and pleasant voice. The choice was made between four different female voices; in other cities, a female voice has been found to be better suited for announcements in a noisy urban environment.

The Helsinki Council on Disability rewarded the announcements on trunk bus routes and trams with an accessibility award in 2018.  Stop announcements improve the accessibility of public transport. In the spring of 2019, HSL surveyed passengers about the announcements; more than 60% of the respondents thought that they facilitate travel. Stop announcements are already being used on public transport in most major European cities.