European Interest

Transport costs too high in Finland

Flickr/ptfreak_vienna/CC BY-NC 2.0
A tram station in Helsinki, Finland.

High transport costs in Finland are taking a big bite out Finns disposable income – so big they are being pushed below the official poverty line.

Heikki Liimatainen, the head of Transport Research Centre Verne at Tampere University of Technology, confirms the high price of transport costs is dragging a growing number of Finns into poverty.

“I’d prefer not to estimate [how many], but that’s a question we’re looking into and should have some information on before the end of this year,” he said to Talouselämä.

The European Union defines poverty as living with less than 60% of the median income of wage earners in the country.

As reported by The Helsinki Times, Liimatainen and fellow researchers, Markus Pöllänen and Hanne Tiikkaja, published a preliminary report on transport poverty in Finland in mid-February and will continue to examine the phenomenon at Tampere University of Technology.

Their study is the first conducted into transport poverty in Finland.

Transport poverty, as it is defined in the report, affects individuals who have no access to the transport means or public transport services they require to satisfy their daily needs and maintain a reasonable standard of living.

The phenomenon also affects individuals whose disposable income falls below the poverty line after the subtraction of necessary weekly transport costs, who are forced to spend an unreasonable amount of time commuting, and whose transport environment is unsafe or unhealthy.

According to the study, the groups most vulnerable to transport poverty are low-income households, households without a motor vehicle, individuals who are either too young or too old to drive, individuals with physical or cognitive limitations, minority households, and immigrants.

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