The removal of telecommuting recommendations related to epidemics has increased passenger numbers on weekdays and weekends, Flink explained.
According to HSL, the number of weekend passengers is currently only 20% lower than before the epidemic began, about two years ago. A few months ago, in January, the share was about 40 percent lower than before the crisis.
Despite the increase, passenger numbers on weekdays are about 30 percent below pre-pandemic levels. The corresponding level in January was more than 40 percent below pre-Covidian levels.
"Given the circumstances, if this trend continues, the situation looks good," Flink said.
Fuel costs raise ticket prices
However, as people increasingly use public transportation in the area, rising fuel prices will cause ticket price increases, according to Flink.
"It is still difficult to say how much increase is needed. It is clear that higher fuel prices are putting significant upward pressure on ticket prices," Flink said he added that the rise in fuel prices could make people choose public transport over their own vehicles.
He said fuel costs are just one factor and acknowledged that the Covid crisis continues to strain the authority’s performance.
According to HSL’s strategy report released in December, passenger numbers are expected to rise to pre-Covid levels in the coming years, and a new record is expected to be broken by the end of 2025.
During the last peak of 2019 – just before the start of the pandemic – some 390 million people traveled on HSL trains, buses, trams and ferries.
The authority estimates that the number of teleworkers will increase, while the number of regular commuters will decrease.
"At the same time, however, the population is growing," Flink stated and stated that new housing is being created in the Helsinki metropolitan area, especially near the area’s train connections.
"In the future, people will certainly use public transport more easily and more often," he said.
Source: The Nordic Page