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Bus companies adjust service after Narva crossing points closure for cars

A coach to St Peterburg crossing the Estonian-Russian border on November 18, 2023.
A coach to St Peterburg crossing the Estonian-Russian border on November 18, 2023. Source: Dmitri Fedotkin/ERR

Russia closes the Invangorod border crossing to cars on February 1, requiring bus passengers to cross the border on foot. The closure may last several years.

As of February 1, all Tallinn – St. Petersburg bus companies will be implementing the new traffic routine. Buses will take passengers to the border, where they will cross on foot and catch another bus on the other side of the border. Bus companies estimate about two hours for border crossings. If a passenger cannot reach the bus in this time due to delays at border controls, an alternative solution will be provided.

"We also have an agreement with the other carriers on this route that anyone left behind due to a long border check will be taken on board. Generally, we will try to get the bus moving from there within two hours. If travelers from Russia have difficulties crossing the border, we have a regular bus service between Narva and Tallinn as well, which they could use to get to Tallinn," Ingmar Roos, manager of the Lux Express coach company, said.

At this time, Lux Express operates six round-trips between Tallinn and St. Petersburg. As of February 1, there will be three. Completely relinquishing the services would be unpractical, as demand is still there.

The bus company Baltic Shuttle will initially retain all three of its Tallinn – St. Petersburg journeys, but the number of passengers could be reduced by about a third. What happens next also depends on Finland.

"As long as the Finnish-Russian border is closed, travelers from European countries to Russia pass through Tallinn. The flow of passengers is currently considerable. As soon as the Finnish border opens and buses can move, the number of transit passengers will decrease significantly," Igor Pashchuk, the head of Baltic Shuttle, said.

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Editor: Merili Nael, Kristina Kersa

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