Night buses start running in Tallinn
Night buses started operating in Tallinn Friday evening, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reports, and will link the city center to the more outlying districts.
The buses start after midnight, weekends only, running at half-hourly intervals, in three directions: To the West (Mustamäe, Õismäe), the East (Lasnamäe) and the northwest (Põhja-Tallinn, ie. Kopli).
The journeys all start at the Balti jaam station on Toompuiestee – not the Viru Keskus terminus – and follow routes through the city center, those that are viable in the current roadworks situation, before going their separate ways.
The same ticket regulations are in place as during the day, ie. the transport is free to residents of Tallinn, while out-of-towners must purchase credit. In either case, passengers must provide their green card on demand, if a Tallinn Municipal Police (MuPo) swoop happens to take place.
AK reported that the first passengers to take advantage of the new service were Tallinn City Government officials.
Natalie Mets, the city's nightlife adviser, said: "Here we are right now on the very first night bus. In this respect, I would have been surprised if there had been a lot of people yet, though I already met one passenger who did go to Lasnamäe."
While the service may take time to catch on with the public, even the maiden voyages were not completely devoid of passengers. One, Marcus, told AK that: "I had just ordered a Bolt taxi for myself. The Bolt was just arriving when I saw this bus coming, so I canceled the Bolt and took the bus. It seems pretty cool, thank God."
For some of the drivers, the late shift suits quite well. Vitali, one of the night bus drivers, said: "You get fewer passengers and traffic at night, so you can drive more freely. Driving during the day is utterly unbearable, there are too many risks."
While the initial departures didn't attract much interest, AK reported, after 2 a.m. there were more passengers waiting. One, Mihkel, expressed disappointment that the bus would not take him to Viimsi, where he lives, but only as far as Lasnamäe.
Viimsi does not lie in Tallinn city limits.
The night buses do not run in the one direction – the same services make the return journey, through to 5 a.m.
Should the scheme prove successful, the City of Tallinn says it may open up further routes, including potentially on in the direction of the airport, South of the city center.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte