Bus line Lux Express plans to resume passenger services from Riga, including links to Tallinn and Pärnu, though with a reduced schedule one third that of pre-coronavirus pandemic levels. Estonian line Go Bus is similarly gradually reintroducing its lines, including to the islands of Saaremaa and Hiiumaa, which had been closed to non-residents until today, Friday.
Lux Express: One third of pre-pandemic routes reopening
"Our international routes have been closed for almost two months," said Lux Express CEO Janno Ritsberg, according to BNS.
"This period has been difficult and challenging for the company, but we hope that operations and growth will resume," he went on, stressing that neither any potential closure of the company nor any restructuring was on the cards.
Between eighth and 10 departures per day will leave Riga under the new schedule, BNS reports, about half-and-half divided between Riga-Tallinn and Riga-Vilnius.
Ritsberg added that Lux Express employees in Latvia have been understanding during the pandemic, as they had been company-wide.
Latvia's government has extended its emergency situation to June 9 at present, meaning that even when Estonia's is lifted on May 18 as per the current deadline, the border between the two countries will not be fully open.
Departures to St. Petersburg and Minsk are not on the table yet as borders between Estonia and the Russian Federation, and Latvia/Lithunia and Belarus, remain closed.
Lux Express Latvia is a subsidiary of Estonian-based passenger bus operator Lux Express Estonia.
Go Bus: 20 departures to start up in next fortnight, including to Saaremaa and Hiiumaa
Estonian bus operator Go Bus plans gradually to restore services on its intercity bus routes, with at least 20 departures over the next two weeks, including services to the islands of Saaremaa and Hiiumaa.
"The easing of the emergency situation restrictions, and more active movement of the public, have together raised demand for the gradual resumption of bus services," Go Bus CEO Andrei Mandla said.
"As a result, we are planning to start reopening of services in line with an increase in passenger demand and fall in travel restrictions to the islands," Mandla went on.
Mandla added that whereas in April people moved around significantly less and the load factor of long-distance buses more than halved, a certain enlivening can be observed in recent days. Also, many residents of the islands have contacted the company to inquire when their buses will start taking people to and from the islands again.
Bus services between Tallinn and both the western Estonian town of Haapsalu and the islands will be restored from Friday, and services between Tartu and Saaremaa's capital, Kuressaare, from May 22.
On top of that, the Tartu-Viljandi route is to reopen on May 15, the Tartu-Valga route on May 18 and the Tartu-Põlva route on May 18, Go Bus says.
Mandla reminded all passengers to observe Health Board recommendations including those on hygiene once services resume.
Editor: Andrew Whyte