The North Estonia Public Transport Center wants to switch to a zones-based ticket system, like the one currently used in Harju County, in Rapla, Lääne and Lääne-Viru counties from April 1. The price of bus tickets will be hiked by 10 cents in Tallinn and the near vicinity.
The center has sent a letter detailing the changes to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications (MKM). "We wanted to hike the price of cash tickets but because the minister's regulation does not allow it, we decided to cut the number of available cash tickets instead," said Andrus Niisk, head of the North Estonia Public Transport Center.
The new system would give passengers the chance to purchase periodic tickets for up to 50 percent less per trip compared to a single cash ticket, and e-tickets that cost up to 25 percent less.
The price of a cash ticket will be hiked in Zone 2, which covers Tallinn and the nearby area, from €1.9 to two euros. "We are hiking the price to dissuade people from buying cash tickets and promote the use of the green card instead. It is faster and avoids bus drivers taking a cut," Nilisk said.
The public transport center also wanted to hike prices in Zone 4, that includes the town of Kose, from €3.7 to €3.8, while this hike was canceled as it would go beyond what is permitted by the regulation. This prompted the center to ask the MKM to change the regulation that prescribes maximum prices for regular bus services based on a public service contract to keep up with general price advance.
The main reason for switching to a zones-based approach is to simplify the ticket system. The center also wants to avoid a situation where county and public long-distance lines in Rapla, Lääne and Lääne-Viru counties would have to offer free tickets in a situation where price tables don't work and the center has been given no guarantee they would be available by April 1.
"If we change the timetables, the new prices will not be reflected in the existing system. Rides will be free in those regions because of the system's shortcoming, and we want to avoid that. We also want to draw the ministry's attention to the fact the state's systems are not working," Nilisk explained.
Should it prove impossible to lay down zone-based rates this year, the center forecasts ticket revenue to fall by €233,941.
Editor: Mari Peegel, Marcus Turovski