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Day two of free bus trip round Estonia: cramped buses and emerging slang

Anette Parksepp (left) and Merit Maarits during their bus journey round Estonia.
Anette Parksepp (left) and Merit Maarits during their bus journey round Estonia. Source: ERR/Anette Parksepp

Day two of the trip around Estonia, where two ERR journalists attempt to get around the country for free via the newly-introduced free county bus lines transport system, sees Merit and Anette travelling first to Viljandi, then onwards across southern Estonia to Võru.

On the road to Viljandi, the pair got chatting to fellow travellers, and the topic of free transport came up time and again, without prompting, both with and without the driver's input.

There wasn't that much optimism about the free system surviving in its present form for any length of time, nor was any particularly strong opinion encountered, they reported, although one passenger, a gardner, said that whilst he believed in the principle of paying for services, he was hardly going to look a gift horse in the mouth when a free transport system like this came his way.

The Viljandi-bound bus was also the first which the pair travelled on which was overfull, with some passengers having to stand. Clearly this route would need to operate more than twice a day as is currently the case.

After a quick bite to eat in Viljandi, the next bus, to Karksi-Nuia, a small town of a little over 3000 people to the south of Viljandi and quite near the Latvian border, proved to be something of a more arduous journey as well. With temperatures soaring to around 30 degrees in the bus, and newly-asphalted roads making the already stifling atmosphere even more unpleasant, getting off the bus at its destination in Võru, south Estonia, became uppermost in the minds of both of our correspondents.

Free bus system developing its own lingo?

In general, two types of people seem to have emerged on the trip so far, according to Anette and Merit: The first comprised those who were quite confused about how the system worked as we have noted. However, a second, much more savvy group seems to have appeared as well, with even a type of 'free county bus lines transport' jargon already forming, including phrases like 'two zeros' or 'two to register' already in use between passenger and driver.

The third and final day of the experiment began this morning, Wednesday, and we will provide a full write up of how things panned out, but if you cannot wait, the two travellers are also live blogging (in Estonian) about their exploits here. Day one report is here.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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