While a briefly-proposed night bus service in Tallinn will not be going ahead, due in part to soaring fuel prices, the goal is certainly not to eliminate cars from the capital's roads, new deputy mayor Tanel Kiik (Center) says.
Although there was still a possibility last month that the opening of night bus routes would be included in Tallinn's 2023 budget, this is now off the table, Kiik said, while appearing on ETV newscast "Otse uudistemajast" Wednesday.
Inflation in fuel prices alone has meant Tallinn's public transport needs an extra €20 million this year, with that figure likely to rise further.
Kiik said Wednesday that: "The priority is to provide a bus service during the day. Night buses are more of a comfort service and employers have found some solutions for such potential passengers."
"In order to start night transport, money would need to be taken from daytime routes, and I am definitely not in favor of doing that. Considering that the budget framework is already complicated, my priority is to maintain and compress the volume of daily regular bus lines, where we see that it needs to be done," Kiik continued.
Meanwhile, solutions need to be found for cars as the capital sees rising pressure from weekday commuters from neighboring municipalities, meaning that reduced speed limits, more public transport and a better environment for bicycles must not come at the absolute expense of car drivers.
"Cars have not disappeared anywhere in the city, nor will they disappear from Tallinn. But regular trips to the store, school, work should be made on foot or by bicycle," Kiik said.
"We are taking the [necessary] steps, but this cannot be done by pushing one social group into a corner. Alternatives must remain," he went on.
Kiik, a former health minister, only started in his role as Tallinn deputy mayor last month, and has made not only cutting speed limits but also making the urban environment as a whole more conducive as two of his missions.
As to speed limits, this should be done on a case-by-case basis and particularly in high population density areas and those where higher speeds could present a hazard or lead to log-jams
"The speed limit has already been lowered in many places in the city center [by] 20 [km/h] to 40 km/h," he added.
Editor: Andrew Whyte
Source: 'Otse uudistemajast'