HSL interim report 1/2014: Reduced number of public transport journeys due to weak economic growth

The weak economic situation affects also the finances of HSL and municipalities. The reducing number of jobs reduces the need to travel. On the basis of the data available at the end of April, HSL is preparing for a one percentage point drop in passenger numbers from 2013. The reduced ridership also reduces ticket revenue. HSL’s result for the financial year is estimated to be close to zero thanks to the saving achieved in operating expenses, while the budget provides for a loss of EUR 8.3 million.

“The declining economic prospects of the municipalities decrease their possibilities to invest in the development of public transport. About half of HSL’s operating income is from the owner municipalities and the other half from ticket income. In the current situation, there is increasing pressure to raise ticket prices to outweigh the increased costs and to increase municipal contributions if we want to maintain the present level of public transport service,” says HSL Executive Director Suvi Rihtniemi.

At the end of April, the number of Metro and tram journeys were down by some 4 percent on the previous year. On bus services, the number of regional journeys was significantly on the rise, while the number of boardings on Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Kirkkonummi internal routes were down on the previous year. There is some increase in the passenger numbers on the Suomenlinna ferries and commuter trains.

On the basis of the data available at the end of April,  HSL’s operating income in 2014 is estimated to amout to EUR 597.1million, 0.8 percent less than the budget estimate. Ticket revenue accounts for 48.4 percent or EUR 289.2 million of the operating income. Municipal contributions amount EUR 290.2 million or 48.6 percent of the operating income. The ticket revenue is estimated to amount EUR 289.2 million, which is 1.2 percent less than the budget. Ticket prices were increased by an average 3 percent at the beginning of the year.

Operating expenses are estimated to be EUR 590.3 million, EUR 11.4 million or 1.9 percent less than the budget forecast. The savings in public transport operating costs are estimated to amount to EUR 12.3 million. The savings are due to lower than anticipated increase in the cost of bus services. Also the rolling stock costs of train services are lower than anticipated thanks to the low interest rates.

Investment expenses are estimated to amount to EUR 20.7 million instead of the EUR 22.7 million provided in the budget.




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