Tallinn purchasing 50 more natural gas buses despite steep fuel costs rise

Tallinn Deputy Mayor Andrei Novikov. (Center).
Tallinn Deputy Mayor Andrei Novikov. (Center). Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The City of Tallinn plans to boost its public transport fleet with 50 more buses which run on natural gas, bringing the total of such vehicles in the capital to 350, Deputy Mayor Andrei Novikov (Center) says.

At the same time, the energy price picture makes this difficult, Novikov told ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) Monday.

He said: "At this point, the situation is really bad and, furthermore, I believe we should account in in this year's budget alone for a sum in the order of €12 million to cover this to year-end."

This additional funding should come from a supplementary budget, he added.

"Should this money materialize, it will come via a supplementary budget, after which there will be a place for discussion on whether to continue at the current level or to provide more money. I believe that we are actually facing a situation where we will have to allocate additional money in any case," he said.

Tallinn's public transport is free to all residents.

Lennart Viikmaa, Tallinn City Transport (TLT) board member, said that despite the current, high natural gas price, the service on offer is currently very sound.

Viikmaa said: "It has to be stated that in the current situation, I.e. the energy crisis, the price of gas has increased significantly. At the same time, we are in constant communication with our gas procurement contract partner to ensure we have, as it were, additional security of supply plans."

Natural gas prices have risen manifold on year, from €0.68 per kg in June 2021, to €2.05 in June this year, while diesel, which also fuels some buses in the capital but is being phased-out has seen a price rise from under a euro to nearly €1.50 per liter.

TLT has also sent a communique to the Ministry of Economy and Communications to raise the issue of holding a discussion on energy security measures. In this way, it is hopedthat public transport services will be added to the list of vital service providers; this would give the privider advantages in terms of access to fuel reserces, for instance, and general prioritization in a crisis situation, Viikmaa added.

In the southwestern city of Pärnu, operator SEBE is seeking support to meet the rising costs of its own gas bus fleet – much smaller than Tallinn's at 19 – which is now costing the company nearly three-quarters-of-a-million euros more to keep in service, than last year, the company says.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Merili Nael

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