Gas prices and inflation are pushing drivers to give up their cars and travel by public transport instead, Tallinn City Council has said. There has been a 10 percent drop in the number of cars on the road.
At the beginning of the school year, there is usually a higher number of vehicles on the capital's roads than usual. But this trend was not seen this year, Wednesday's "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported.
Gas prices have been rising steadily for a year and are unlikely to drop soon. This has led to a decrease in the number of cars on the road.
"On the current models and mobility numbers, we can say that we can see a 10 percent decrease of drivers compared to the beginning of September 2019, as well as last year," said Deputy Mayor Tanel Kiik (Center).
The official said it is assumed this trend will continue when winter heating bills start arriving.
But not everyone is switching to public transport, which is free throughout the capital.
"If we talk about this general change in people's behavior, we can see that not everyone who has given up their cars are using public transport today. Some of them are using other means of transportation or working remotely," said Kiik.
The number of bus passengers in Tallinn has not quite returned to the pre-pandemic level, but growth has been highest over the last eight months.
"If the forecast was that the city's public transport would be used for approximately 90 million [trips], today we are moving somewhere in the region of 100 million [trips]," said Kaido Padar, head of Tallinn's city transport.
"Of course, the main routes are also full in the morning, whether it comes from Laagna tee or from Haabersti, but there is no way that anyone will be left behind or cannot get on at all," he added.
Alexela board member Tarmo Kärsna said the biggest drop was observed when the price of gasoline hit 2 per liter in the summer.
Customers are now often not filling up their tanks to the top and trips to the gas station are less frequent. The drop in businesses is expected to continue throughout the winter and end when prices stop rising.
"At the moment, a price drop is definitely not expected this autumn or winter. If we take a longerterm perspective, it again depends on inflation in Europe and Ukraine. If there should be a calming down, then some price drop should happen in the second half of next year," said Kärsna.
Editor: Barbara Oja, Helen Wright
Source: Aktuaalne kaamera