The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications does not consider it necessary to introduce the concept of temporary bus stops or to create new stops on transport lines in south Estonia to allow passenger entry, but an amendment to the law will allow passengers to leave vehicles between stops.
On April 7, ERR News reported managers of the public transport centers in Valga, Tartu, Jõgeva and Southeastern Public Transport Centers had sent a letter to the Road Administration and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications saying they are concerned by the distance southern travellers need to cover on foot in order to reach the nearest bus stop.
They proposed to create an additional definition of a temporary bus stop as building new stops to the current standard it too costly for them. According to the proposal, a temporary bus stop would be distinguished from others by being, for example, smaller and green.
Ahti Kuningas, Undersecretary of Transport of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, replied at the moment it is not considered necessary to introduce temporary bus stops or a definition of what one could be to the regulations.
"However, the draft amendment to the Public Transport Act, which is pending, has included permits for passengers to leave on sections of the road between stops," he noted.
Additional stops for passengers would be allowed if provided for in the timetable. When this option enters into force, public transport hubs and local authorities will be required to develop areas where passengers can safely exit buses.
With regard to bus stops on roads with low-traffic, the Road Administration has introduced a solution where the bus can stop on the road. Kuningas said this will be satisfactory in 90 percent of cases.
The Undersecretary noted that according to the Traffic Act, the responsibility for the safety of the passengers and the places of disembarkation lies with the owner of the road.
"It is not appropriate or proportionate to impose this on passengers, as suggested in your address, as bus stops are often used by minors and by people with special needs," he wrote.
Editor: Helen Wright