The Helsinki Regional Transport Authority manages all public transportation in Helsinki, which amounts to over 370 million trips every year. While the rail system criss-crosses the whole city, the most popular mode of travel is the bus. Around half of all trips are taken by bus. All vehicles combined, there are more than 300 daily routes with more than 25,000 scheduled daily departures.
The transport network is comprehensive and car traffic is low
The metro travels between four end stations, taking passengers from western Espoo to eastern Helsinki near the border to Vantaa. The local trains make their way across the city in a south-north direction and quickly take passengers to the suburbs and the adjacent cities of Espoo, Kauniainen and Vantaa. The airport trains and buses run along well-planned routes through the city.
Environmentally friendly trams can be spotted especially in southern districts, zigzagging between the downtown area and nearby neighbourhoods. Many bus routes connect with the main train lines. A new addition is the local train route known as the Raide-Jokeri, which is due to start operation soon in the northern part of the city in a west-east direction.
Distances are never far in a dense city. Private car traffic accounts for only 21 percent of Helsinki's transportation, and drivers need not worry about heavy congestion.
Even if Helsinki is small in size, it is spread out over a large area and you can access all parts by bike. The bike routes take you through amazing parks and forests.
Route planning is easy and timetables are reliable
Reliability is one of the advantages of the capital region's transportation system: some 99 percent of departures take place on time. Punctuality is a virtue in Finnish transportation culture!
There is no need to remember different stops, routes and bus numbers by heart as they are easy to find on your phone. The praised Journey Planner application delivers the best route in an instant for any trip inside the city, showing the travel times for different route options. In many cases, the options include different combinations of local train, bus and tram routes. The handy service is available in Finnish, Swedish and English.
If your phone battery dies, not to worry: timetables are also found at nearly every stop, although there is no information here about delays. If you just missed the bus, you can download the Whim app that bundles public transportation together with taxis and rental cars.
Walking and biking are environmentally friendly choices
The city streets of Helsinki are in good basic condition and cater to drivers, pedestrians and cyclists alike.
The short distances and a well-run rail system motivate locals and visitors to choose an environmentally friendly option over a car, with walking being by far the most popular option. About a third of all journeys in Helsinki are done by foot.
Biking is growing in popularity, and there is a heavy emphasis on this in the city’s bike route planning and expansion of the network of shared city bikes. The city currently has nearly 3,500 city bikes available at 240 stations. The light traffic route Baana was opened in 2012 in central Helsinki. It offers a 1.3 kilometre route for safe and car-free travel for pedestrians and cyclists.