Tallinn Opposition Expresses Reservations About Expanding Free Public Transport to Rails ({{commentsTotal}})

Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

A motion by the Center Party-ruled Tallinn City Government to add local trains to the city's free public transport system has been met with mixed reactions by the opposition parties.

The Social Democrat candidate for mayor, Andres Anvelt, told uudised.err.ee on Wednesday that the move would be a logical development, as currently some residents have more opportunities to use free public transport than those living near train lines.

Anvelt said that the current public transport system in the city is not economically viable and has not reduced the number of cars, adding that nearby municipalities should be added to the scheme to make it function successfully.

Anvelt's mayoral race rival in the Reform Party, Valdo Randpere, said that the proposal was a sign of panic, not serious governance, as bus lines have not been analyzed in 20 years, adding that a sensible traffic system would allow Tallinn to catch up to Helsinki.

A transport hub, in the Ülemiste area, would unite all forms of transport, Randpere said.

IRL candidate for mayor, Eerik-Niiles Kross, said that he could not imagine how free local trains will bring in many new passengers as the free bus, tram and trolley bus service has only increased passenger numbers by 1.2 percent.

Kross said Tallinn needed new transport connections, including tram lines to the airport and Lasnamäe, and more modern solutions.

As reported on Wednesday, Tallinn government has introduced a bill that would allow residents of the city to use their public transport card on trains in the first zone of Elektriraudtee's operating area. A move that would cost the city 375,000 euros until the end of 2014. A vote is expected before very soon, with the project beginning in mid-October, shortly before local elections.