New students or people coming to Helsinki for the first time often find it tricky to understand the public transport available from the airport. The Helsinki-Vantaa international airport is located in Vantaa, which is a different municipality than Helsinki. But thanks to the amazing public transport system, the distance can be covered easily. However, some people prefer to take a taxi from the airport which is a bit of a more costly affair. But for students, who are usually on a regulated budget, taking the train from the underground station is an easy and affordable option. The available trains from the airport are the P and I trains travelling to Helsinki. They both go to the city centre but travel in opposite directions as the tracks form a loop. The travel time is almost the same on both trains, so you can choose whichever train. The last stop is called “Helsinki” and it is in the city centre next to the Railway Station Square (Rautatientori), where you can find connecting busses, metros or trains for further destinations.
Tickets are no longer sold on the trains, so you should buy your ticket before stepping on-board. On the platform, there is a ticket vending machine. Contrary to people’s belief, this machine can be used in different languages including English.
To buy a ticket from the machine, press start in your preferred language (fig 2). Now comes selecting your destination. These images were taken at Rautatientori, hence you can see one of the destinations as Helsinki airport (fig 3). While using the ticket machine at the airport, one of the destinations will be “Helsinki” or “Helsingfors” (Helsinki in Swedish). After choosing the right destination, you need to buy a single ticket for the Helsinki region (fig 4 & 5). You can pay the ticket either with cash or by card, but it could be simpler to pay by card if you are doing this for the first time.
Commuter trains are the fastest option if you are arriving to the airport before midnight. But if you are arriving between 12 am and 5 am (5 am is when commuter trains start), taking a bus is also an option. The bus stop is located outside, right in front of the airport. Take a bus which is heading towards Rautatientori if you want to get to the city centre. Busses with the number 615 go there and tickets are available from the vending machine and from the bus driver.
I hope this piece of article would be helpful for you to buy your first ticket and commute to Helsinki. Have a safe travel!
Text: International Student Ambassador Abhishek Singh