Finland to launch border bookings

Finland-RussiaFinnish authorities are to implement an electronic reservation system for border crossings in an effort to combat long queues. According to a YLE report, the electronic scheme will be launched before next autumn and will initially be open to those crossing at the Imatra, Vaalimaa and Nuijamaa checkpoints on the southern border with Russia. Official information regarding costs and the reservation process have yet to be released, although reports say that each booking will cost EUR 2 or less and patrons will be given a set arrival time.

The move comes as waiting queues have reached record levels in recent weeks, with lines up to 15kms (nine miles) long accumulating at some crossings. Major checkpoints in the south-eastern part of Finland handle up to 50,000 travellers and more than 11,000 vehicles on peak days.

Experts say that such a scheme is especially important for the Nordic country given the increasingly likely prospect of visa-free travel between Russia and Finland, which would dramatically increase the number of daily crossings between the two nations.