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The Finnish Defence Forces

Conscripts now able to make train seat reservations

Defence Command 2.6.2016 13.00
Press release

From now on, conscripts will be able to reserve seats free of charge on long-distance trains. It is also still possible for those in furlough uniform to travel without a reserved seat by displaying their conscript card.

From now on, conscripts will be able to reserve seats free of charge on long-distance trains. It is also still possible for those in furlough uniform to travel without a reserved seat by displaying their conscript card.

VR and the Finnish Defence Forces have today reached agreement on the implementation of new seat reservation arrangements. Agreement to develop this seat reservation option was reached in November 2015 as part of the cooperation agreement signed between the Finnish Defence Forces and VR.

‘Trains are a favoured mode of transport among conscripts, and we want to further encourage them to make use of this safe and environmentally friendly travel option. The new seat reservation service improves conscripts’ travel comfort significantly and offers them the opportunity to relax either on their journey home or their journey back to the garrison’, says Maisa Romanainen, Senior Vice President for VR Passenger Services.

‘Making seat reservations possible for conscripts is an really positive development. We received a lot of feedback from conscripts about this issue, and this formed the basis for initiating discussions with VR. We wanted conscripts to be on an equal footing with other passengers, because they have definitely earned it’, explains Defence Forces HR Manager Lieutenant General Sakari Honkamaa, who will be transferring to the reserves at the beginning of July.

Utti infantry regiment to test out the new service in June

The new, awaited service will operate such that conscripts register first with VR's Veturi customer loyalty programme so that their right to a conscript’s free seat reservation can be confirmed. After this, seat reservations can be conveniently made using the VR Mobile service. It is possible to travel in Eco Class with an assigned seat if dressed in furlough uniform and able to show one’s conscript card. Conscripts can also still travel on trains in any available seats even without a seat ticket if they are wearing furlough uniform and have their conscript card with them.

The new seat reservation service will be tested first on a smaller scale during the month of June. Participating in this pilot stage will be the Utti infantry regiment located in Kouvola. The service will be implemented for all conscripts as of the start of July 2016.

Conscripts have already for decades been able to travel by train thanks to the agreement made between VR and the Defence Forces. Travelling on long-distance trains became easier already in the beginning of 2014, when the use of paper tickets came to an end. The new seat reservation service which is now about to be made available will increase the comfort of travel for conscripts.

Conscripts made last year around 250,000 train trips while carrying out their military service. In addition, conscripts receive good discounts on train trips taken in their own free time. These free-time train discounts will remain at 30% for long-distance trips and 50% for tickets on local trains in the Helsinki Region.

VR’s Director for Pricing and Products Nora Härme describes the new service in more detail in the Junablogi blog. (in Finnish).

Further information:
Nora Härme, VR Director for Pricing and Products, contact via VR Group media desk, tel. +378 3070123.
Ritva Davidsson, Senior Advisor at Defence Forces Shared Service Centre, tel. +378 299 815 480.