Helsinki Regional Transport Authority (Finnish: Helsingin seudun liikenne, HSL, Swedish: Helsingforsregionens trafik, HRT) is the governmental authority in charge of maintaining the public transportation network of Helsinki, Finland.
HSL is responsible for the operation and marketing of all local bus, tram, metro, ferry and commuter train services in the Greater Helsinki area. In 2016, HSL introduced the Helsinki bikeshare system within central Helsinki.
HSL controls the fare and ticketing system and ticket inspection. All of its systems except for the bus network use open fare collection. There are no gates at metro and commuter rail stations or tram stops. There is a fare evasion fee of 80€ in addition to the full price of the ticket.
HSL doesn't own any rolling stock. Due to this, HSL relies on independent contractors for the operation of its system.
HSL began its work on January 1, 2010. The work of the new intercommunal authority was based on the new Finnish public transportation law in force since December 3, 2009. According to the law HSL is responsible for the planning and procuring of the public transportation in Greater Helsinki. The traffic functions of YTV and planning, procuring and tendering functions of HKL were moved into the transport authority.
The Helsinki Regional Transport Authority was founded in a meeting on June 17, 2009. When its work began, it had a revenue of over 500 million euros, and approximately 350 staff members.
In 2016, HSL started to develop a revamped version of its native journey planner, Reittiopas. This replacement would be a next generation open data and open source intermodal public transport route planner Codename Digitransit.
In February 2017, the new route planner was opened for public use.
The official name of the transport authority is Helsingin seudun liikenne -kuntayhtymä HSL in Finnish and Samkommunen Helsingforsregionens trafik HRT in Swedish. The official name of HSL in English is Helsinki Regional Transport Authority HSL. Also the shorter form of the name, Helsinki Region Transport (HSL) may be used in everyday use.
HSL oversees the operation of all public transportation systems in the Helsinki region. However, the agency does not operate any services. It relies on independent contractors for the day-to-day running of the systems.
The Helsinki Metro is operated by HKL. The metro network opened in 1982. It has 17 stations in total on its two lines, M1 and M2.
The current Länsimetro extension program will expand the metro to areas in western Helsinki and southern Espoo. When the extension is finished in 2020, the total number of metro stations will be 30.
The commuter rail services within the region are operated by VR. There are 52 stations in the commuter rail network, which are served by 14 lines. The commuter rail network is the most far-reaching of HSL's rail systems; it serves the northern and western suburbs of the city, as well as the Helsinki Airport.
Trams in Helsinki are operated by HKL. HSL oversees the country's only operation tram network, which opened in 1891.
HSL offers two types of bus service. In addition to regular buses, represented in the network with the blue color, HSL operates a handful of heavily optimized lines running west-east. These lines are marked in orange, similar to the metro. The lines, as of 2/2017, are 550 Westendinasema - Itäkeskus (M) and 560 Myyrmäki - Rastila (M).
Bus services are divided among multiple operators. The companies granted with traffic contracts as of 2/2017 are:Transdev
A ferry to Suomenlinna is part of the HSL network. This route is operated with two ferries, the Suomenlinna I and Suomenlinna II.
In 2016 HSL launched Helsinki's remodeled bikeshare program. Starting on the 2nd of May, 2016, users could register to use the network for a day fee of 5€, a week fee of 10€ or the entire season from May to the end of October for 25€. The initial network included 500 bikes, one of which a user could use to travel from any of the 50 stations to another.
In late 2016 HSL announced the details of a revamped bikeshare system, this time spanning 1500 bikes and 150 stations. The expanded bike program will bring the service to Munkkiniemi, Pasila, and Vallila. In addition to having 1400 bikes and 140 stations in Helsinki, the service will cover Matinkylä and Olari in Espoo with 100 bikes and 10 stations.
The bike share system is a joint venture between CityBikeFinland, HKL, and HSL. The system is sponsored by Alepa, which has its commercials on the bicycles. Due to this, the bikes have earned the nickname alepapyörät, Alepa bikes.
HSL is owned by the cities of Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Kerava and Kauniainen and the municipalities of Kirkkonummi and Sipoo. In 2017, Tuusula voted to join the system.
The other municipalities in the Greater Helsinki area (Järvenpää, Nurmijärvi, Mäntsälä, Pornainen, Hyvinkää and Vihti) may join the transport authority in future. There are currently 1.3 million inhabitants in the 14 municipalities of Greater Helsinki and the population is estimated to increase to 1.5 million by 2030.
The offices of the transport authority are located in Pasila, Helsinki in the address Opastinsilta 6A.
After the founding of HSL, the visual identity of all transportation services in Helsinki was unified under one brand name and logo. The HSL identity is heavily based on the color-coding of different elements to highlight the types of information presented; danger is represented in red, optional information in blue.
The base color for HSL is blue (#007AC9). Each of the forms of transit are represented with a color of its own: HSL Bus blue
HSL Tram green
HSL Commuter rail purple
HSL Metro orange
HSL Ferry light blue
The visual outlook of HSL has been designed by design office Kokoro & Moi. The designers explain the concept as:
"The outlook shows reliability, freshness and ease of approaching. The octagonal shape of the logo is symbolizing the expanding public transportation network. The loops in the logo remind of leaf shoots, telling of new ways of action and new partnerships and of ecological values. The eight loops also represent all cardinal directions and are sending a message of the broad-ranged function of the organization. In the middle of the logo there are two graphical lines, symbolizing uniting organizations and the public transportation with its tracks, wheels and map lines."
HSL's duty is to do its part in taking care of the functioning, economical aspects and caring of nature in the greater Helsinki. This goal is achieved by promoting the usage of public transportation and by organizing affordable and well functioning public transportation services.
HSL takes care of planning the regional public transportation and internal public transportation of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa. Beside planning, HSL also tenders the bus companies. The organization owns no buses or rail rolling stock.
One of the agency's jobs is to compile the Helsinki Region Transport System Plan.
HSL operates Travel Card system (Matkakortti in Finnish, Resekort in Swedish) based on MIFARE DESFire and Ultralight (for disposable tickets) technologies. The purchase price for empty reusable travel card is €5 and is non-refundable.
HSL has announced plans to replace the current travel card system along with the card readers to a new technology in 2016. The new cards are going to be named the HSL card and the Visitor card, respectively.