Helsinki Regional Transport Authority

The Helsinki Regional Transport Authority (Finnish: Helsingin seudun liikenne, HSL; Swedish: Helsingforsregionens trafik, HRT) is the inter-municipal authority that maintains the public transportation network of the nine municipalities of Greater Helsinki, Finland.

Helsinki Regional Transport Authority
Native name
Helsingin seudun liikenne (Finnish)
Helsingforsregionens trafik (Swedish)
TypeKuntayhtymä (Inter-municipal cooperation)
Founded1 January 2010
HeadquartersOpastinsilta 6 A,
Area served
Greater Helsinki
Key people
Suvi Rihtniemi (CEO)
ServicesPublic transport
MembersCity of Helsinki
City of Espoo
City of Vantaa
City of Kauniainen
City of Kerava
Kirkkonummi municipality
Sipoo municipality
Tuusula municipality
Siuntio municipality
Number of employees
c. 400[1]
An electric bus on line 55 in Helsinki
An HSL travel card in use until 2019
An HSL travel card in use since April 2019 alongside a reflective sleeve
An HSL card reader, in use since 2016

HSL oversees the operation of all of Helsinki's public transportation. The system consists of local buses, trams, metro trains, ferries, commuter trains, and bikeshare.

Apart from four electric buses,[2] HSL does not own rolling stock. Due to this, HSL relies on third-party contractors for the day-to-day operation of the transit system.



HSL was founded on 1 January 2010[3] on the basis of the Finnish public transportation law, joukkoliikennelaki, which was adopted on 3 December 2009.[4] According to joukkoliikennelaki, HSL is responsible for the planning of public transportation in Greater Helsinki. The traffic functions of the inter-municipal Helsinki Metropolitan Area Council (YTV) and planning, procuring and tendering functions of Helsinki City Transport (HKL, within the city of Helsinki) were moved into the transport authority.[3]

When it was founded, HSL had a revenue of over €500 million and approximately 350 employees.


In 2016, HSL started to develop a revamped version of its native journey planner, Reittiopas, originally released by YTV in 2001. The replacement intermodal public transport route planner named as Digitransit[5] is built on open source OpenTripPlanner.

In February 2017, the new route planner was opened for public use, and the phasing-out of Reittiopas Classic began.


Välkky, a blue cube with a face and a cap, is the official mascot of the Helsinki Regional Transport Authority.

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. Also the shorter form of the name, Helsinki Region Transport (HSL) may be used in everyday use.[6]


HSL oversees the operation of all public transportation in the Helsinki region. However, apart from select bus routes with electric units, the agency does not operate any rolling stock. Therefore, it relies mainly on independent contractors for the operation of the network.


The Helsinki Metro is operated by HKL. The metro line opened in 1982. The system serves 25 stations in total on its two lines, M1 and M2.


The first phase of the Länsimetro expansion program extended the metro lines west to Lauttasaari and southern Espoo, serving eight new stations. The second phase of the extension is slated to open in 2023. At that time, the total number of metro stations on the line will increase from 25 to 30.

Commuter railEdit

Commuter rail service in the region is operated by VR. There are 52 stations in the network, which are served by 15 lines. Out of HSL's three rail networks, commuter rail is the most far-reaching; it serves the northern, north-eastern, and western suburbs of the city, as well as Helsinki Airport in Vantaa.


Trams in Helsinki are operated by HKL. Helsinki was the only Finnish city with tram service in use as of November, 2017. Tram service in Helsinki began in 1891.


HSL offers three types of bus service: standard buses, neighbourhood buses and two small headway crosstown lines ("runkolinja", literally: trunk lines).

HSL tickets are also valid on most U-routes which are run by separate companies and serve cities outside of the HSL area.

Standard bus routesEdit

The standard bus routes can be divided into the following categories:

  • Helsinki internal bus routes
  • Espoo internal bus routes
  • Vantaa internal bus routes
  • Regional routes within the HSL area
    • 111-739: these buses have a basic numbering system with the smaller numbers mostly going west towards Espoo, the larger numbers mostly going north-east towards Vantaa and the some 500-series buses being cross-city routes

The numbers listed above have exceptions (e.g. Helsinki internal school bus route 91 which serves the Östersundom area).

Neighbourhood bus routesEdit

The neighbourhood lines use mini-buses which stop anywhere on the line at a passenger's request. These lines often run hourly from morning to afternoon on weekdays and have little to no service on weekends. The lines are mostly meant to be used by people with difficulties moving but they can be used by all people.

Routes 550 and 560Edit

There are two orange colour-coded cross-city lines which are called trunk lines are routes 550 and 560. 550 runs from the Itäkeskus metro station in the east, through the Oulunkylä, Huopalahti, Pitäjänmäki and Leppävaara commuter train stations and the western metro stations of Aalto-Yliopisto and Tapiola, terminating at Westendin asema in the west. 560 runs from Rastila metro station in the east, through the Vuosaari, Mellunmäki and Kontula metro stations and the Malmi and Myyrmäki commuter train stations terminating in Honkasuo in the north.

Both routes use long wheel-base buses which have a high capacity and are colour-coded orange instead of the regular blue colour-coding on buses.

Buses on the route 550 run every 4–10 minutes between 4:20 and 21:30 and every 15–30 minutes between 21:30 and 1:00 on weekdays with buses running every 10 minutes between 10:00 and 19:00 and every 15–30 minutes between 4:50 and 10:00 and between 19:00 and 1:00 on Saturdays, and every 10 minutes between 10:00 and 19:00 and every 15–30 minutes between 5:20 and 10:00 and between 19:00 and 1:00 on Sundays.

Buses on the route 560 run every 7–10 minutes between 5:15 and 20:30 and every 15–30 minutes between 4:30 and 5:15 and between 20:30 and 0:30 with buses running every 10 minutes between 11:00 and 18:30 and every 15–30 minutes between 5:00 and 11:00 and between 18:30 and 0:30 on Saturdays, and every 15 minutes between 11:00 and 20:30 and every 20–30 minutes between 5:30 and 11:00 and between 20:30 and 24:00 on Sundays.

A plan to build a light-rail connection from Itäkeskus to Keilaniemi following the current route of bus route 550 has been finalised and accepted by the cities of Helsinki and Espoo. Construction is set to start in 2019.

The light-rail will have a track gauge of 1000mm which is the same as on the Helsinki tram system. The vehicles would be larger versions of the current Helsinki trams and would be built by Finnish company Transtech.

Bus operatorsEdit

Bus services are divided among multiple operators. The companies granted with traffic contracts as of 2020 are:


A ferry to Suomenlinna is part of the HSL network. This route is operated on two ferries, Suokki and Suomenlinna II.


In 2016 HSL launched Helsinki's bikeshare program. Starting on 2 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.

The bikeshare system is a joint venture between CityBike Finland, HKL, and HSL. The system is sponsored by HOK-Elanto's grocery shop chain Alepa, which has purchased the commercial space on the bicycles. Due to this, the bicycles are colloquially known as alepapyörät (”Alepa bikes”).

In late 2016 HSL announced the details of a revamped bikeshare system, this time spanning 1,500 bikes and 150 stations. The expanded bike program brought the service to Munkkiniemi, Pasila, and Vallila. In addition to having 1,400 bikes and 140 stations in Helsinki, the service covered Matinkylä and Olari in Espoo with 100 bikes and 10 stations. The 2018 season saw a further-expanded network, with a total of 2,200 bikes at 220 stations, of which 70 are located in Espoo. The season fare was increased to €30.[7]


As of 27 April 2019, the HSL area is divided into four zones designated A, B, C and D, roughly circularly divided according to distance from the city centre of Helsinki. Customers are obligated to buy a ticket spanning at least two zones at a time; the exception to this is zone D, for which a single zone ticket is available. Available tickets include single, day and seasonal tickets, all of which can be bought using a travel card or from HSL's vending machines or mobile application. Additionally, single and day tickets may be bought aboard buses from the driver.[8]

HSL controls the sale and inspection of transit tickets. Apart from the bus network, all of HSL's services use a proof-of-payment system: there are no gates at metro and commuter rail stations or tram stops. Instead, passengers are required to present a valid ticket to fare inspectors, who randomly patrol the network. If caught without a valid ticket, a passenger must pay a fine of €80 in addition to the full price of the ticket.[9]



HSL is owned by the cities of Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Kerava, and Kauniainen and the municipalities of Kirkkonummi and Sipoo. In 2017, Tuusula[11] and Siuntio[12] voted to join HSL.

The other municipalities in the Greater Helsinki area (Järvenpää, Nurmijärvi, Mäntsälä, Pornainen, Hyvinkää, and Vihti) have the possibility of joining HSL in the future. About 1.3 million people live in the 14 municipalities of Greater Helsinki and the population is estimated to increase to approximately 1.5 million by the year 2030.

HSL's office is located in Opastinsilta 6 A, Helsinki.

Visual identityEdit

HSL's logo for tram transportation

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).[13] 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
  •   HSL/Jokeri light rail turquoise

HSL's visual identity was created by the design office Kokoro & Moi.[14] The designers have explained 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 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.


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Helsinki's first fully electric bus to hit the road in January". HSL. 17 January 2017. HSL exceptionally procures the Linkker buses itself, because it would have been unreasonable to place the technology risk on the operators.
  3. ^ a b Archived from the original on 19 January 2010. Retrieved 13 April 2010. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ "FINLEX ® - Ajantasainen lainsäädäntö: Kumottu säädös Joukkoliikennelaki (Kumottu) 869/2009".
  5. ^ Digitransit
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 31 December 2010. Retrieved 23 May 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "City bikes". HSL. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  8. ^ "Tickets and fares". Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  9. ^ "Penalty fare". HSL. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
  10. ^ "Järvenpäästä tulee HSL:n jäsen". Keski-Uusimaa (in Finnish). 21 October 2019. Archived from the original on 21 September 2020. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  11. ^ "Tuusula tulee mukaan HSL:ään". HSL (in Finnish). Retrieved 20 February 2017.
  12. ^ "Siuntio päätti HSL:ään liittymisestä". HSL (in Finnish). Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  13. ^ "Värit". HSL (in Finnish). Retrieved 20 February 2017.
  14. ^ "Home — Kokoro & Moi". Kokoro & Moi. Archived from the original on 21 February 2017. Retrieved 20 February 2017.

External linksEdit