City of Helsinki, FINLAND


3 million

transactions per day

800,000 users

1,700,000 passes


Open payment, account-based ticketing and ticket purchase and validation via smartphones are some of the new features that are being discussed with the Finnish capital to offer travellers a wider range of services.

Complete, open and scalable

ticketing system


Before the implementation of the Flowbird solution, the city of Helsinki had a non evolutive ticketing system that could not support change: a validator with four mechanical buttons for the four fare areas of the city and a two-line LCD screen.

The announcement of a fare change project made it clear that the system had reached its limits. The Finnish capital and the local operator HSL decided to renew the whole ticketing system to integrate:

  • An updated fare offer and new contactless media
  • Traveller information in real time
  • Additional features and a wider choice of distribution channels


By working along with key players in the area, the integrator Tieto came up with a solution that earned the preference of HSLThanks to their references and expertise in the field, Flowbird was missioned to supply a complete ticketing system for the whole intermodal network

  • 1500 buses
  • A metro
  • 100 tramways
  • 150 trains
  • A fleet of ferries

All the equipment in the system was supplied and replaced by Flowbird:

  • 100 ticket vending machines
  • 1910 bus consoles
  • 4160 validators (on board or ground)
  • 180 on-board reloading machines
  • 65 handheld validators
  • 136 handheld fare inspection terminals.

To extend the vending network, 500 point-of-sale  terminals were placed with agents, all connected to the online sale server.


Complex integration: By winning the contract, Flowbird took on the sizeable challenge of integrating its ticketing solution into a complex system involving a number of players: Tieto (system integrator), Fara, Hogia, Mattersoft, Intermarketing, Freelancer, ISS, etc.

Thanks to a modular architecture, open system and standard technology, Flowbird was able to adapt his solutions and accommodate the constraints of the different parties involved. 

Flowbird was also able to adapt his software solution to facilitate integration, by opening its system and offering standard interfaces and technology.

Equipment adapted to the needs of customers: No fewer than 6000 machines were delivered and installed in the city. What is more, in view of the climate in Helsinki, Flowbird equipment underwent a number of tests and adaptations to withstand temperatures as low as -25 °C in operation. 

The different Ticket Vending Machines were fitted with appropriate heating systems and the touch screens on validators were designed and adjusted to allow their use with gloves of all types!

Throughout the project, the operator was committed to putting the end user at the centre of its concerns. A panel of local people were regularly asked to test the new equipment in advance.  The deployment itself was accompanied by a large publicity campaign. It was designed to make it enjoyable for users to obtain information about the replacement of equipment and make the change in habits smoother.

A system-centric model for sales: One differentiating aspect of the solution put in place in Helsinki is the use of centralised architecture for all Ticket Vending Machines. 

All the Ticket Vending Machines, point-of-sale terminals and kiosks installed for agents have a web user interface that is connected to a centralised online sale server and security server. 

That architecture simplifies the deployment of versions and avoids the use of secure access modules (SAMs) in the equipment, making the whole solution more secure. The same online sale server is used for sales via the Internet.

Successful migration:  The transition from the old system to the new has been planned during a relatively long period, during which old and new machines were required to work in parallel. Similarly, data exchange with the back office was put in place and developed over the whole process. 

Flowbird was able to efficiently migrate the existing system to the new ticketing solution, in line with the customer’s requirements.

The transition followed the plan below: 

  • Set up of the Flowbird back office and transfer of data from the former back office
  • Start up of sales on the new system and modification of exchange flows (with the new system now the master) 
  • Deployment of new equipment in waves:
  • Gradual replacement of all on-board machines (validators and consoles)
  • Installation of new ticket vending machines
  • Supply of fare inspection equipment
  • Deployment of a new contactless pass, with the gradual replacement of older media
  • Activation of new features and new fares. 

The migration was seamless from the point of view of users, and made it possible to secure the 3 million transactions completed every day.