Many passengers traveling in the direction of East Helsinki took the metro instead of a night bus but the late night metro services were welcomed also by those traveling within the city center.
The night metro trial started in mid-November last year. By Christmas, an average of 4,000 journeys per night were made on the night metro. At the same time, the number of passengers on the night buses to East Helsinki decreased by only 1,300 passengers to 1, 500 passengers per night.
“We expected the night metro to attract passengers during the pre-Christmas party season. A positive surprise was that the increase in the metro passengers exceeded the decrease in the night bus ridership,” says Mr Tero Anttila, the Director of HSL Public Transport Planning Department.
“This means the night metro has attracted clearly more passengers from other modes of transport than the East Helsinki bus routes. On the basis of the statistics by station it seems that a high number of journeys in the city center were made on the late night metro services."
During the trial, which will run until mid-June, the metro runs two hours later than usual on weekend nights. The night buses serving between the city center and East Helsinki do not operate some of the services. The operating hours of feeder services do not change.
A total of some 200,000 journeys are made on the metro Monday to Friday. On Saturdays, the number of passenger is on average 135,300.
According to Mr Anttila, it is not yet possible to draw any general conclusions on the night metro passenger numbers on the basis of the pre-Christmas party season. “During the coming months we will see whether the popularity of the night metro continues or is it seasonal."
HSL will monitor the passengers number on the night metro services during the spring and the aim is to decide whether to extend the operating hours permanently towards the end of the spring. The operation of the night metro is affected also by the construction of the West Metro and the metro automation work carried out in the tunnels. The work can be done only at night outside the metro operating hours.