From spring, Estonians and Finns will be able to use the same public transport apps to pay for public transport tickets in Helsinki, Tallinn, and Tartu in a unique European project.
Tallinn and Tartu local public transport apps will expand to the Helsinki region and the Helsinki Public Transport Agency's HSL travel app will also offer Tallinn public transport tickets next spring.
Tiit Laiksoo, Senior Specialist of the Tallinn Transport Board's ticket system, said this is a unique project on a European scale.
"The mobile app-based project is expected to be ready by the end of February next year. It will take more time for a travel card-based project, and we hope to complete it by spring 2021," she said.
ERR writes that Estonians will benefit more from the new scheme than the Finns, as it is already much easier for the Finns to pay for public transport in Tallinn and Tartu than Estonians in the Helsinki region.
In Tallinn and Tartu customers can buy tickets on vehicles, including using contactless payment, but in the Helsinki region there are two options: find a ticket machine or download the HSL app from the Helsinki Public Transport Agency and link it to a bank card.
For casual travelers to Helsinki this is relatively troublesome and there is not always a ticket machine at every public transport stop.
Expanding the apps will make life a lot easier, especially as the arrival of transport cards which can be used in both countries on public transport vehicles or being able to pay with contactless cards in the Helsinki area has been stalled.
This is because Helsinki's ticket validators are more old fashioned than in Tallinn and Tartu.
HSL's head of department Mari Flink said: "Of course we would like to offer contactless payment but it is not that simple. We have more than 2,000 public transport vehicles with several types of validators. We are currently investigating how to bring contactless payments to our current validators so that we don't have to replace them all."
Editor: Helen Wright