The Finnish authorities continue to make decisions in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus epidemic.
After the latest restrictions proposed by the Government this week to limit freedom of movement and establish the mandatory use of face masks, now it is the turn of public transport.
On Friday, the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom issued a decision limiting the maximum permitted number of passengers to 50% of the normal maximum capacity in the region of the Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District (HUS).
The restriction will take effect on Saturday 27 March and remain in force until 25 April.
However, children will be allowed to use these services normally to attend school: "The restriction will apply to all HSL transport services, excluding passengers born in or after 2008 on weekday services. If students in grades 7–9 return to in-person learning, this exception is extended to passengers born in or after 2005 on weekday services," HSL said in a press release.
No significant impact
The Helsinki transport operator expects that these restrictions will "not have a substantial impact" on its services. At the moment, the occupancy rate on public transport is on average less than 20% of the maximum capacity and on the vast majority of services, the occupancy rate is clearly under the 50%.
"For example, on the metro, the highest occupancy rate measured this week has been about 28%," HSL says.
However, in cases of insufficient capacity on individual services, HSL advises passengers to wait for the next service or to use an alternative route or mode of transport where possible.
Currently, the busiest times on weekdays are approximately between 3pm and 6pm and between 7am and 9am in the morning peak.
New maximum capacity
The maximum number of passengers allowed on different vehicles when it is capped at 50% will be as follows:
- Metro train: about 350 passengers.
- Commuter train, one unit: about 300 passengers.
- Artic tram: about 100 passengers.
- Articulated tram: about 80 passengers.
- Bus, 3 axles: about 60 passengers.
- Bus, a larger 2-axle bus: about 45 passengers.
- Bus, a smaller 2-axle bus: about 40 passengers.
- Neighborhood bus (minibus): 10 passengers.