Cities struggling to absorb soaring public transport costs

A tram in snowy Tallinn.
A tram in snowy Tallinn. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Rising fuel costs and wages are putting pressure on public transport operators in Estonia's biggest cities. Tallinn plans to dip into its budget but Tartu and Pärnu may raise ticket prices.

ETV's evening news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" discussed the issue on Monday evening.

Tartu Deputy Mayor Raimond Tamm (Reform) told the show forecasts suggest an additional €2 million may be needed to fund transport services.

Last year €8 million was allocated, but: "This year we are forecast about €10 million euros - quite a significant change," he said.

Tamm said money additional money may need to be allocated for public transport from a supplementary budget. However, the city is also considering raising ticket prices for the first time in 15 years but a decision has not yet been made.

Director of the Pärnu County Public Transport Center Andrus Kärpuk said the monthly bus ticket will rise from €10 to €15.

Tallinn city bus. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

He said the rising price of natural gas - which has doubled - has significantly put up transport costs. "This means that urban transport will increase by around €700,000," Kärpuk said.

"It is not possible to find such funds in the Pärnu City budget, and inevitably the question of raising the ticket price on Pärnu city lines will arise, and probably from July 1, this year."

Tallinn, which has free public transport, has a budget of 21 million for fuel. There are no plans to reintroduce tickets for the capital's residents despite rising costs.

"In this case, we believe that we can find these funds in the supplementary budget. Our aim is to promote the use of public transport in this case, and based on this policy, the price should be maintained at its current level," said Deputy Mayor Andrei Novikov.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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