The city of Porvoo is conducting a survey of the city-led public transport reform, in which the citizens of Porvoo were involved last month with the help of a survey. The background is the renewal of public transport in 2024. It’s great that there is a desire to reform public transport, but we are concerned about how students will be taken into account in the reform.
A campus of Haaga-Helia and Laurea is located in Porvoo, where more than 170 students start each year. In the current situation, these students are forced to either pay large sums of money for public transport or use their own car just to get to study.
There is room for improvement in the current prices of public transport in Porvoo, internal traffic and traffic to the capital region. The prices are unequal especially for students who often live below the poverty threshold. A monthly card for internal transport in Porvoo costs 48 €, a long-distance 20-trip card costs 130 €, and a 30-day bus card costs 180 €. The use of public transport is not achievable if it is too expensive and in the worst case it can cost almost as much as a student’s study grant per month.
If the goal in public transport reform is to enable a car-free lifestyle and support the city’s climate goals, encouraging students to drive a car does not contribute to the cause. Driving is not an option for many students, as it requires both investments in a car, a driver’s license, and the willingness to pay the costs of driving. Expensive bus tickets also put a burden on UAS students doing internships, because often for example students in the social and health fields cannot find an internship in their place of residence or study.
Although higher education is theoretically free, in addition to working equipment, the student must pay for the expensive public transport costs, especially in Porvoo or when traveling to Porvoo. Most other public transport operators offer students a student-priced option, which makes other locations appear more attractive when choosing a place of studying.
The Student Unions Helga and Laureamko demand, as part of the public transport reform, to come up with a solution where the student discount is of sufficient size and supports the choice of public transport. There are currently no student-priced tickets in Porvoo’s public transport, which is a factor of inequality and a financial burden for many students. If students are not taken into account as a customer group in city planning, it will probably be reflected in the desire to stay in Porvoo. Porvoo is probably not immune to the growing talent shortage.
On behalf of Helga, The Student Union of Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences,
On behalf of Laureamko, The Student Union of Laurea University of Applied Sciences,