In its meeting today, 30 October, the Board of Helsinki Region Transport (HSL) decided to make the student discount in public transport cover all full-time basic degree students regardless of their age. At the same time, however, it decided to decrease the student discount on season tickets bought on travel cards from 50 to 45 per cent and to restrict the student discount so that it only applies to season tickets. The World Student Capital (WSC) network of the student unions of the Capital Region is disappointed in the decision to decrease the discount and to leave single tickets outside the discount.
‘Our goal was to retain the 50% discount in all ticket types. We believe HSL has overestimated the costs of having no age limit for the discount’, Chair of the WSC network Otto Rosenlund states.
Most of students over 30 years of age have previously been left without the student discount in public transport because the right to receive student aid has been a condition for getting the discount. The positive side of the new decision is that students over 30 years of age will now get the discount on the same terms as younger students. This has been a long-term goal for student organisations, and we are happy that we have now achieved it, even though the rest of the decision is a disappointment. The removal of age discrimination from the student discount may lead to new groups of people starting to use public transport, which reinforces the profitability of public transport.
‘We believe that HSL should have dared to try expanding the discount under the current discount model, adjusting the model based on realised costs later. According to our estimate, the annual costs of the student discount would probably not have exceeded the budget framework by much after the expansion’, comments Otto Rosenlund.
The WSC network urges HSL to monitor the effects of its decision on the cost accumulation for student discounts and to return any possible deficit compared to the previous cost level to the student discount through either raising the percentage of the discount or reapplying the discount to single tickets.
The new discount criteria take effect in connection with the zone reform in the spring of 2019.
Chair of the World Student Capital network
Specialist (housing, health, city) Sofia Lindqvist, Student Union of the University of Helsinki, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. 050 543 9605