Tallinn City Government on Tuesday said that it would not be reasonable to relocate Tallinn Bus Station from its current location on Lastekodu Street to the subdistrict of Ülemiste, adjacent to Tallinn Airport.
In connection with preparations underway for an architectural competition and the drawing up of a detailed plan for Ülemiste Terminal in the framework of the Rail Baltica railway project, the city is drawing the attention of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications to the fact that when planning a long-distance bus terminal by the planned future Ülemiste railway terminal, it must be taken into account that the new bus terminal would start to compete with the existing Tallinn Bus Station.
"According to the Public Transport Act, the operation of long-distance bus routes and the bus stations needed to service them is conducted on a commercial basis," Tallinn Deputy Mayor Kalle Klandorf (Centre) wrote in a letter to Deputy Secretary General for Transport Ahti Kuningas. "In Tallinn, the only long-distance bus station is operated by Tallinna Bussijaam AS, owned by Mootor Grupp AS."
According to Klandorf, the City of Tallinn lacks the legal grounds for restricting both the number and location of bus stations in the city. "In addition, we are of the opinion that from the perspective of passenger convenience, long-distance buses should travel as close to the city centre as possible," he continued. "This means that we believe that the current location of the bus station as a terminus is preferable to the location in front of Ülemiste Terminal."
The deputy mayor added, however, that a bus stop with greater service capability should be planned for the terminal at Ülemiste, where long-distance, county and local buses could make stops, but this should be considered an intermediate stop for these bus lines, not their final destination.
Union: Multimodal transport hub most sensible
As Tallinn's Ülemiste subdistrict is the site of Tallinn Airport as well as other public transport links, and is slated to become the site of a European rail passenger terminal in connection with the construction of Rail Baltica, the Union of Estonian Automobile Enterprises in September proposed to Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Kadri Simson (Centre) that Tallinn Bus Station also be relocated to that area.
"The development of the urban space of Tallinn and the Ülemiste traffic junction has created the perfect conditions for passengers who have come from various parts of Estonia and use public transport," union director Villem Tori, said in the letter to Simson. "The tram line would take passengers arriving by long-distance bus quickly and conveniently to the city centre and beyond."
According to the union, this is why it would make sense for a terminal for intercity traffic to be located at a multimodal transport centre located on the outskirts of the city.
"The prerequisite for well-functioning public transport is bringing together various modes of transport in centres where people would be able to choose the means of public transport of their liking," Tori explained. "With the existence of efficient city transport, relocating stations servicing intercity transport in suburbs and by large highways helps decrease car and bus traffic in the city centre, avoid unnecessary traffic jams at rush hour, and accelerate the movement of passengers fro point A to point B by means of various types of transport."
According to the union chairman, establishing a bus station at Ülemiste would help decrease the burden of city traffic both in the city centre, on Tartu Highway and in the vicinity of the current bus station, as well as increase passenger comfort and ensure better parking facilities for public transport users, which are inadequate around the current bus station.
"We can see that following the completion of Rail Baltica, the joint Ülemiste Terminal would become even more useful, but steps should be taken today already to integrate important transport sites to Ülemiste," Tori added.
Tallinn Bus Station has operated at its current location on Lastekodu Street since 1959.
Editor: Aili Vahtla