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No cuts to socially and ecologically sustainable public transport under the guise of the coronavirus | HYY

6.10.2020

No cuts to socially and ecologically sustainable public transport under the guise of the coronavirus

STATEMENT

The Student Union of the University of Helsinki is worried about the future of public transport in Helsinki. According to the budget framework approved by the City Board, the city must make cuts to its investments next year due to the pressure caused by the coronavirus. We understand the need to save money caused by the financial pressure but also believe that any cuts should not, under any circumstances, be directed at planned public transport solutions that are ecologically and socially sustainable.

We are especially worried about the renovations of metro stations and the execution of the northern entrance to the Kaisaniemi metro station.

‘The metro provides an ecologically sustainable option to travel, and people should be encouraged to use it, especially by investing in station renovations. In addition to this, the new entrance at Kaisaniemi would significantly increase university students’ opportunities to use the combination of the metro and other public transport options’, argues Joonas Pulliainen, member of HYY’s Board in charge of urban policy.

We are also disappointed in the possible delay in the Kalasatama–Pasila rail connection. If realised, the rail connection would introduce a seamless connection between Kumpula and Pasila. This would, in part, help realise the vision of students’ long-term goal, the Science Tram.

‘The creation of new rail connections in the city is among the best ways to reduce emissions. This is especially important to students for whom public transport is the main method of travel. As a result, we hope that the possibility of fulfilling the rail investments as well as their schedule would be reconsidered’, Pulliainen states.

By cutting down on rail investments, the city is doing itself a disservice. Rail investments have a key role in increasing the relative share of users of public transport. Attention must be paid to both an extensive route network and smooth journeys. The cuts proposed now are contrary to the city’s objective of becoming carbon neutral. In addition to this, they make it more difficult for people, especially those with a low income, to travel in the city safely and flexibly.

‘Finally, we would like to thank the Urban Environment Committee of Helsinki, which already commented on many of the aforementioned things in its own statement on next year’s budget. Now, we are hoping that the city’s decision-makers in both the City Council and the City Board will take action to prevent the next decade’s public transport projects from remaining half-finished’, Pulliainen concludes.

 

Further information:

Joonas Pulliainen
Member of the Board
joonas.pulliainen@hyy.fi
0400 195 093

 

Matias Takala
Specialist in social policy
matias.takala@hyy.fi
050 543 9605