The student unions in the metropolitan area state the following on the ticket pricing renewal presented in the meeting of HSL Board on 20 Jan 2015.
The meeting of HSL Board on 20 Jan 2015 presented changes to be made on public transport ticket prices. One of the proposals was to discontinue student discount for students who are over 29 years of age, even if they are entitled to student financial aid. Changes to ticket prices will be addressed in the metropolitan area municipalities prior to their approval. Committees and city boards are consulted during the round of comments. The renewal has caused plenty of criticism among our members. We find it essential to issue a statement on the renewal from the viewpoint of students and our organisations to municipalities in the metropolitan area.
The discontinuation of student discount proposed in the ticket pricing renewal places students who are over 29 years of age in an unequal position compared to other students. Discount on public transport is an essential benefit for students with low income, regardless of their age. When making decisions, it is particularly noteworthy that Finnish students begin their studies relatively late. Today, there are approximately 4,000 full-time students in the metropolitan area who are over 30 years of age and entitled to student discount.
These students do not differ by their income level from students under 30 years of age, as all students entitled to student financial aid have the same income limits. In addition, a restriction on student financial aid made in the government budget session in March 2013 on the minimum study performance of 20 credits per year rules out the possibility to misuse student financial aid decisions. In our opinion, the extra profit from the discontinuation of student discount is rather marginal on the scale of HSL and is not a sufficient ground to impair the position of students. Studying and self-development should be possible regardless of age.
The planned changes would also impair the position of wheelchair users and students with children who travel with a child in the pram, as HSL has planned to discontinue their right to travel without a ticket in the metro and trams. This cost reduction is not logical, as it mainly encourages to use bus transport, when otherwise the goal is to favour rail transport, in particular. Our organisations are concerned about environmentally-friendly transport of students with children and its support in the future. Easy transport is also important for students with children in terms of their social well-being.
There is a wide range of students of various ages who are in different life situations. We hope that the committees and city boards have understanding towards this wide range of students.
Alviina Alametsä, Board Member of the Student Union of the University of Helsinki, Urban Affairs, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. +358 50 595 0318
Joni Vainikainen, Haaga-Helia Student Union, email@example.com, tel. +358 45 850 4280
Aalto University Student Union
Niko Ferm, President of the Board
Janne Koskenniemi, Secretary General
Student Union of HAAGA-HELIA University of Applied Sciences
Paula Jantunen, Chairperson of the Board
Aku Aarva, Secretary General
Student Union of the University of Helsinki
Mari Kyllönen, Chairperson of the Board
Katri Korolainen, Secretary General
The Student Union of Laurea University of Applied Sciences
Anni Suvisuo, President of the Board
Susanna Kauppinen, Secretary General
Student Union of Metropolia University of Applied Sciences
Jemi Heinilä, Chairperson of the Board
Sara Miettunen, Secretary General