The City of Tallinn is discussing the possibility of opening a night bus service from next year. An application for extra funding has been submitted to support the establishment of four routes, which among other things, are expected to reduce the increasing number of scooter accidents in the Estonian capital.
"This is a more environmentally friendly approach than using cars, including taxis," said Natalie Mets (SDE), Tallinn's nighttime adviser. "Another reason is safety. It is hoped that people who are drunk will choose to take the night bus instead of a car or scooter," Mets explained.
According to Mets, the proposed introduction of a night bus service in Tallinn is long-awaited. "As of 2019, Estonia and Cyprus were the only two of the 28 EU countries without any night transport in their capital cities," said Mets.
Medical staff, rescue workers and police officers are among those who would benefit most from the introduction of public transport in the city at night, as well as those working in the service industry.
However, according to Tallinn Deputy Mayor Tanel Kiik (Center), it is uncertain whether the city will find the required funds, as high fuel prices have also increased the cost of existing forms of public transport.
Kiik said, it was important that night routes are not opened at the expense of existing routes.
"We have submitted a request for additional funds to open four possible night routes, which are estimated to cost several hundred thousand euros, said Kiik. "This includes the cost of transport staff and security services during night hours," he added.
How frequently night buses will run in Tallinn and for how much of the year, also depends on the result of budget talks.
"These are routes that leave from one center, for example from the Baltic station (Balti jaam) or the city center, and are so-called 'home buses', which do not then return to the city," Mets said.
With the Estonian capital has seeing an increasing number of incidents at night caused by those using scooters whilst under the influence of alcohol, Hannes Kullamäe, head of the Police and Border Guard Board's (PPA) northern prefecture traffic monitoring authority,believes that any increase in safety measures in the city, including the introduction of night buses, is more than welcome.
"If people embrace it and take the bus, the number of road accidents should certainly decrease, especially for (those caused by) scooter riders, which are used very actively at night by people who have been drinking alcohol," Kullamäe said.
Similar to day time public transport, the proposed night bus services would be free of charge for Tallinn residents.
Editor: Michael Cole