Train operator Elron reports record passenger numbers for May
In May 726,000 journeys were made with Elron passenger train operator, a record monthly figure, the company says, bringing the total to 3.4 million passengers for the year to May.
Rising pressure on train capacity has caused Elron to ban bicycles on many of its most popular routes through summer, and the procurement of new trains by the state. The latter are likely to take a couple of years though.
The Tartu and Narva express routes saw an increase of one third in passenger numbers, according to an Elron press release.
"We can clearly see that people are choosing the train instead of a passenger car for longer journeys," said Ronnie Kongo, sales and development manager at Elron.
"To meet the growing demand and maximize investment in rail, buying new locomotives is essential," Kongo continued.
"We had done a lot of work towards this, and our customers are expecting a positive decision from the government. The Estonian people certainly deserve even better train transport," he added.
Kongo added that Elron encourages people to buy their tickets from ticket machines at stations, rather than when on board the train. The latter has been the more popular sales method recently, but tickets from machines are actually cheaper, he said.
Of the 726,000 train rides made in May, over half were made on three routes: 133,000 journeys were made on the Tallinn-Paldiski route, with 113,000 and 102,000 on the Tallinn-Riisipere and Tallinn-Tartu routes respectively.
The 3.4 million train journeys made to May 2019 represents a 4 percent rise on year, Elron says.
Last week, Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas (Centre) proposed procuring new trains, probably hybrid units rather than the diesel engines Elron runs at present.
However, these are not likely to be in operation for another two or three years, the company's CEO, Merike Saks, said.
Editor: Andrew Whyte