When I first used Helsinki’s subway system I felt like I was the only one swiping my travel card. Was everyone else riding for free? I didn’t want to be the only chump paying for rides so for a while I stopped swiping my travel card too. When in Rome and all that….
Turns out I’m not in Rome, I’m in Helsinki, in one of the least corrupt countries in the world. While some people may be jumping the train, many will have bought fortnightly / monthly / annual travel cards that don’t need swiping every time they get on or off. What really amazes me is the whole system is based on trust.
At the entrance to each Metro station you won’t find turnstiles or six-foot high gates that are opened only by a valid ticket. There are random ticket inspections however and the fine for being caught without a ticket is 80€.
People travelling with a child in a stroller up to the age of six travel for free on all HSL transport services (bus, train, metro & ferries). For those who do buy a ticket it is valid for all types of HSL transport within the city and is valid for one hour.
Unlike many European cities where you can spend hours underground getting to your destination, Helsinki is so compact the metro line currently runs in two directions only – although work is currently being undertaken to expand it.
Which makes it easy to use and also leaves you much more time to visit the city’s attractions, such as
the Trevi Fountain and the colosseum Helsinki Cathedral.
Tips for using the Helsinki Metro
- If you’re new in Helsinki don’t be afraid to try it, it basically goes in two directions so you can’ t get too lost
- Station names are in Finnish with the Swedish name written underneath
- Ticket machines are at the top of the escalators, before you go down to the platform
- Travel cards can be bought & topped up at most R-Kioski (convenience stores usually found near stations)
- All metro stations have elevators so are accessible for wheelchairs & strollers
- Likewise, the train and platform are at the same level & there are no stairs in the trains
- If you’re not in a hurry, don’t bother with a timetable. Trains generally arrive every 2 mins or so during peak hours
- If you take the escalator down to the platform, stand on the right unless walking
- Kaisaniemi station is now called Helsingin Yliopisto (Helsinki University)
- Dogs, cats & other pets are allowed onboard and travel for free