An empty adjacent seat can be as much as 65% percent cheaper than a normal-priced ticket.

VR is going to start selling empty adjacent seats on its trains. Photograph: Tony Öhberg/Finland Today
VR is going to start selling empty adjacent seats on its trains. Photograph: Tony Öhberg/Finland Today

The government-owned railway monopoly, VR, has started to sell empty adjacent seats on its trains to meet the customers’ demand.

In VR’s customer survey conducted in July, the biggest concern for passengers was how to keep a proper distance to other travelers during the coronavirus pandemic. “Nearly 60 percent of the respondents told about their interest to buy an empty adjacent seat,” Juho Hannukainen, director of long-distance planning and passenger services, VR, said in a statement on Thursday. “Today the additional option of being able to purchase an empty seat is a very expected and requested service,” he added.

The price of an empty seat for an adult, for example, on the route Helsinki–Tampere, will cost €3.20 when a budget ticket costs €8.90. In general, an empty seat, according to VR, can be as much as 65% cheaper than a normal-priced ticket depending on how further ahead the ticket is booked, how long is the traveling distance and how crowded is the train.