The HSL app breaking download records is evolving – HSL chose Digia as partner

The HSL mobile application provides the user with the best travel services in one package. Digia is responsible for the development and maintenance of the application as a partner to HSL.

In a couple of years, the HSL app has established itself as one of Finland’s most popular applications: it has already been downloaded more than 1.4 million times and has about 700,000 active users. The application has been at the top of the most downloaded list of app stores for several months.

Digia has been involved in developing the application since the autumn of 2017. With the agreement signed this spring, Digia has overall responsibility for the technical development of the application. Within the framework of the agreement, Digia has a top team of more than 10 employees working on the application development.

The application’s implementation technologies include React Native, Node.js and GraphQL.

Spring novelties include the zone reform and auto-renewing season tickets

Transport services in the Helsinki metropolitan area are constantly evolving, and there is a desire to also offer mobile access to new services at a brisk pace. At the moment, the application includes ticket purchase, the Journey Planner, real-time schedule information, transport announcements and alerts related to routes. One of the goals of concentrating technical responsibility to one partner was speeding up the development cycle.

The zone reform was a big effort in the spring, with mobile playing a key role in introducing it to everyday life. The application directly shows which ticket is needed between the two addresses. Ticket purchase has also been brought to the mobile platform: now, for example, a 30-day season ticket can be downloaded to your mobile.

“The core concept is that customers get everything they need to use public transport through the application. We want to provide a complete service in as easy-to-use and personal package as possible”, Concept Owner Niko Tynkkynen from HSL says.

“The application is playing an increasingly important role in ticket sales and, for single tickets, it is already rivalling the travel card as a purchasing channel”, Tynkkynen says.

“Mobile is a key user interface for transport services in the Helsinki metropolitan area. We see it as important to build a service in which different forms of travel can be easily utilised and combined into uninterrupted travel chains. As new summer additions, ferry traffic and the scooter trial in Vuosaari are also available in the mobile application”, CEO Suvi Rihtniemi from HSL says.

Further development to go smarter and more personal

“Going forward, the goal is a smarter and more personal application for customers. For example, the application could get to know the customer’s travel habits, naturally with the customer’s permission, and automatically alert of any disruptions. Ticket products are also constantly being developed to meet customer needs. For example, the auto-renewing discount subscription is a completely new type of ticket product that we are introducing in the near future. The application will also be an important channel for interaction between HSL and customers, for example, in providing feedback”, Tynkkynen says.

“The HSL app plays a very important role among the residents of the Helsinki metropolitan area and it is therefore particularly motivating to develop a service that is genuinely anchored in people’s daily lives. It is really great to further strengthen our already fruitful cooperation”, says Janne Muurinen, Director, Agile Development, Digia.

“Digia’s developers have played a key role in creating the service. At best, more than 100,000 tickets per day are sold through the application. The fact that the service truly works is really essential for all of us. The developers have had a big role and responsibility”, Niko Tynkkynen says.

The HSL app was awarded an honourable mention at the spring 2019 Grand One gala in the Best UX Design and Best Mobile Service categories.