Bus line Lux Express is resuming services between Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius from Friday, the company has announced.
As reported on ERR News, the company announced its intention nearly two weeks ago, adding that the schedule would be about one third that of pre-coronavirus pandemic levels. The three Baltic States opened their land borders to each other last Friday, creating the so-called Baltic bubble.
"This week, we will open only three of our eleven international routes," the company's business manager, Rait Remmel, said via a press release Thursday.
"This is a small but very important step for the residents of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, as well as for Lux Express, in restoring normal life as it was before the emergency."
Returning to the full, pre-emergency volumes will take time, however, Remmel said, likely 12-18 months in the best-case scenario.
The company's timetable from Friday (local time) is as follows:
Tallinn-Riga: 07.00 (Lux Lounge); 10.00 (Lus Express); 12.30 (Lux Lounge) and 18.00 (Lux Lounge).
Riga-Tallinn: 7:00 (Lux Lounge); 12:30 (Lux Lounge); 15:00 (Lux Express); 18:00 (Lux Lounge).
Tallinn-Vilnius: 22.00 (Lux Express).
Vilnius-Tallinn: 22.00 (Lux Express).
Four daily services between Riga, the Latvian capital, and Vilnius, Lithuania, are also to start.
Lux Express notes that Latvia and Lithuania require passengers on public transport to wear a mask or to cover their nose and mouth via other means, such as using a scarf, while traveling.
The company says it provides hand sanitizers in its front and mid-bus doors, disinfects its buses after each trip, and can provide surgical masks by asking the driver.
Travelers can also purchase an extra seat cheaper than regular price, if they wish to keep a space next to them. To do this, the company says online customers should add two tickets on the same journey, select a 50 percent discount on one of them, and allocate them side-by-side in the booking system seating plan.
The company has also stopped selling or providing hot drinks, water, snacks, pillows, blankets and headphones as a further precautionary measure.
Lux Express is the largest trans-border bus operator in the Baltic States.
Estonian bus operator Go Bus also plans gradually to restore services on its intercity bus routes, with at least 20 departures emerging over the course of the month, including services to the islands of Saaremaa and Hiiumaa.
Editor: Andrew Whyte