Tallinn Plans More Bus Lanes as Free Transport Takes Effect
At a press conference on Wednesday, Tallinn Deputy Mayor Taavi Aas announced that the city would create more bus lanes next spring or summer.
Last year the city was criticized, even threatened with legal action, for its controversial traffic changes, some of which came overnight. The transport department squeezed major roads in the city center, painting them over with the word "bus" in an effort to give public transportation elevated status.
"I promise that this time around we will give advance notice when there are changes. We will not do it abruptly again," Aas said.
According to Aas, there has been a noticeable decline in traffic intensity in the first nine days since Tallinn adopted free public transport for its residents on January 1. He said that in the first week there was a 15 percent drop in traffic intensity compared with the months of November and December. Also, he said, there was a 6 percent rise in use of public transportation.
So far, 174,000 Tallinners have acquired the new electronic farecards and personalized them to show proof of Tallinn residency. Pensioners, who ride for free even if they aren't Tallinn residents, purchased an additional 49,000 farecards. Tallinn has a population of 420,000.
Tallinn ran out of the new farecards soon after January 1, and has ordered a new shipment of 50,000 due to arrive next week, and another 100,000 in the week after.
In a given day there are 445 buses, trams and trolleys in operation in Tallinn.