Island ferry carrier passengers down 18 percent on year in June ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

One of the TS Laevad ferries, Piret, on route from Kuivastu to Virtsu
One of the TS Laevad ferries, Piret, on route from Kuivastu to Virtsu Source: ERR

Passenger numbers between Estonia's islands and the mainland fell by 18 percent mainly due to the effects of the coronavirus and the emergency situation.

TS Laevad, which operates ferries to Saaremaa, Muhu and Hiiumaa, carried 239,001 passengers in June, a fall of 18 percent compared to 2019.

Over the same period, the number of vehicles fell 3 percent, to 110,438.

A fall in bus trips and numbers of passengers on buses was the main culprit, the company says.

Ave Metsla, TS Laeva board member said: "The decline in passenger numbers in June was mainly caused by the lower number of bus and group trips made to Saaremaa island compared with last year; each bus also carried a lower than average number of passengers."

A total of 2,113 departures operated on the Virtsu to Kuivastu (Muhu) route and the Rohuküla to Heltermaa (Hiiuaa) route in June.

Passengers travelling to Muhu can go on to Saaremaa via the causeway highway linking the two islands.

The Virtsu-Kuivastu line saw the largest drop in passenger numbers, 22 percent on year to 166,525, with vehicle numbers falling 6.6 percent to 78,529 over the same period.

With Rohuküla-Heltermaa the fall was a more modest 5.7 percent, to 72,476. The number of vehicles on the route grew, by 5.4 percent, to 31,909 - an all-time high level for the month of June, TS Laevad said.

During the first six months of 2020, TS Laevad carried 680,642 passengers and 351,294 vehicles.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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