Reduced operating costs ensured a strong financial result

In 2014, the rate of increase in public transport ridership slowed down due to the economic situation and increasing popularity of walking and cycling. However, public transport customer satisfaction reached record levels.

The total ridership on Helsinki region public transport was up by 0.6 per cent from the previous year (353.3 million journeys). The biggest increase was seen on regional bus services (+6.2%) and on train services (+3.2%) while on the Metro and tram services the ridership was down (-2% and -1.9% respectively).

“The lower than anticipated passenger growth is explained by the region’s weakened economic conditions, increased unemployment and mild autumn and winter,” says HSL Executive Director Suvi Rihtniemi. The projected growth for 2014 was two per cent, the average growth percentage in public transport since 2007.

The slowdown in the growth rate was partly attributable to increased walking and cycling. There is a trend for people to walk or cycle short journeys rather than use public transport.

"This is a positive trend and completely in line with HSL’s strategy. Our task is to develop the transport system as a whole and increasing the popularity of walking and cycling is one of the focus areas of our strategy. Hopefully this trend will continue,” Rihtniemi says.

For 2015 and the coming years, HSL anticipates a one per cent increase in public transport ridership. The forecasts for the coming years will be refined in the financial and operational plan for 2016-2018 scheduled for approval by the HSL Executive Board next autumn.

The already high customer satisfaction (2013: 87.47% satisfied) reached record levels last year. In total 87.66 per cent of passengers were satisfied with the Helsinki region public transport services. HSL measures customer satisfaction through a survey completed by some 50,000 passengers on different modes of transport. Customer satisfaction with HSL’s services is very high also in international comparison.

Reduced costs produced a surplus

HSL delivered a strong financial result in 2014. HSL's profit for the financial year after financial items and depreciations was EUR5.0 million while the budget provided for a loss of EUR8.3 million. HSL’s ticket revenue was up by 3.4 per cent from the previous year at EUR287.3 million. The increase is explained by price increases: the ticket prices were hiked by an average of three per cent at the beginning of 2014. HSL's operating income increased by 1.5 per cent to EUR595.2 million. Ticket revenue accounted for 48.3 per cent and municipal contributions for 48.8 per cent of the total. Other operating income, EUR 17.7 million, mainly consisted of government subsidies, ticket inspection revenue, income from Travel Card equipment charged to the operators and income from the rental of drivers’ rest facilities.

HSL’s operating expenses amounted to EUR582.1 million, some 3.2 per cent less short of the budget. Procurement costs for public transport services are the largest item of expenditure at EUR 464.5 million or 79.8 per cent of HSL’s operating expenses.

The lower prices of fuels and lubricants as well as historically low interest rates helped to deliver cost savings.

PASSENGER NUMBERS 2008 - 2014

(millions of boardings)                           Increase
2008              317.8                               3.6%
2009              319.5                               0.6%
2010              327.0                               2.3%
2011              335.9                               2.8%
2012              344.9                               2.7%
2013              351.4                               1.9%
2014              353.3                               0.6%

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