For years, HSL and HKL have been looking for measures to speed up tram services and improve their reliability without compromising service level and ticket revenue. The discontinuation of onboard ticket sales is a necessary first step in order to implement other measures to improve the punctuality of tram services, such as improving traffic signal priorities.
The importance of tram services increases as the tram network in central Helsinki is made more accessible and the crosstown light-rail link, Raide-Jokeri, starts operating at the beginning of the 2020s. In future, the length of journeys made by tram will increase from the present. At the same time, the need for speeding up travel increases.
Longer trams are needed to accommodate more passengers. Discontinuing tickets sales by drivers enables making the most of the capacity of new trams.
“Discontinuing onboard ticket sales improves customer experience when passengers purchasing tickets do not block the corridors or cause delays to the services. Already most people use season tickets, value tickets, mobile tickets or tickets purchased from ticket machines,” says Mari Flink, the Director of Customer Experience and Sales at HSL.
In addition, single tickets can be purchased in advance at kiosks and stores from summer 2017. The aim is to start selling single tickets also at new parking ticket machines in Helsinki during this year.
The new zone model will be introduced at the earliest at the beginning of 2018. In the zone system, there will be neither city-specific tickets nor transport mode-specific tickets. Tram tickets will be discontinued to ensure the clarity and ease of use of the new fare system. On the basis of customer feedback, the tram ticket valid only in zone A is deemed to be confusing. On the other hand, when the Raide-Jokeri light-rail link is introduced, tram network will extend far beyond the Helsinki city center.