The role of the Finnish Transport Agency in Finnish public transport
One of the Finnish Transport Agency's strategic goals is safe and smooth travel. Public transport plays a key role in the development of the transport system and transport services.
The collaborative group of public transport actors (JOUSI) has defined a vision, the key objectives and development projects for national development of public transport. The common goal of the public transport actors is to increase the number of public transport journeys by 200 million from the current 530 million annual journeys by 2022. The collaborative group includes representatives from the Finnish Transport Agency, the Ministry of Transport and Communications, large and medium-size cities, VR, the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities, Linja-autoliitto and contract traffic operators, Paikallisliikenneliitto and TVV lippu- ja maksujärjestelmä Oy.
In order to be able to coherently assess the impartiality and effectiveness of public funding, the Finnish Transport Agency makes it possible to define the level of service for public transport in the same way throughout the country. The Finnish Transport Agency guides and coordinates the public transport operations of the ELY Centres (Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment) as well as national development projects on public transport. The priority areas include improving the development of passenger transport services and the public transport information management. The Finnish Transport Agency prepares the regional allocation of discretionary government grants and makes decisions about government grants to large and medium-size cities.
The Finnish Transport Agency participates extensively in the development of public transport in growing urban areas.
The Finnish Transport Agency makes the travel chains smoother by contributing to the passenger information at travel centres and stations and by planning the feeder traffic together with different actors. The Finnish Transport Agency is a shareholder in the limited company TVV lippu- ja maksujärjestelmä Osakeyhtiö, established by cities and the state. This company produces the authorities’ ticketing and charging system service Waltti.
The operational preconditions of bus transport are regulated in the national Public Transport Act (869/2009) and in the EU Regulation on public passenger transport services (1370/2007). The provision of professional passenger transport services in return for payment is subject to a public transport licence. Licensed passenger transport by bus or coach is regulated by the Public Transport Act (869/2009).
The Public Transport Act and the EU Regulation on public passenger transport services entered into force at the end of 2009. The Public Transport Act introduced a transitional period of ten years, during which the organisation of transport is gradually adapted to the new act. The old licenses for route traffic were changed into public service contracts for the transitional period. These licenses will gradually expire between 2014 and 2019. The extent to which public authorities may intervene in markets to guarantee the quantity and quality of public transport services is laid down in the EU Regulation on public passenger transport services.
Under the Public Transport Act, the competent authorities are responsible for organising public transport. The competent authorities comprise nine Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centres) and 26 municipal authorities. The competent authorities define the service level of public transport in their own area and decide how the transport services should be organised. The transport services can be market-based or put out to tender as laid down in the EU Regulation on public passenger transport services.
Transport shall be put out to tender in accordance with the legislation on procurement and public transport, if a sufficient level of service is not reached in the market-based services and public grants are used for the transport services. The competent authorities may decide independently what ticketing and charging system they want to use for public transport in their area and they also determine the ticket prices.
A public transport or route traffic licence granted by the competent authorities is required for market-based transport operations. In market-based transport the transport operator may independently determine the ticket prices.