Tartu city bus system gets complete overhaul

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One of the new Tartu city buses
One of the new Tartu city buses Source: Kuvatõmmis/Tartu LV

Tartu city has had a complete overhaul of its public transport service. Starting Monday, the new network consists of 13 bus routes, along with two night bus routes. A total of 64 new low-floor, air-conditioned buses are being rolled out by AS GoBus, which will service the route, ERR's online news in Estonian reports.

New ticketing systems are also in place, with validators on board buses where hourly tickets with a pre-paid card can be bought.

The new network differs from its predecessor significantly in terms of routes, number of lines and frequency of services, and has been rationalized by providing fewer lines, but with a greater frequency and better interconnectedness, Tartu City Government said.

Buses will run on the major routes every 10-20 minutes, which means popular intersection stops will be serviced once every few minutes, by different lines.

The revised schedules should cut out the stacking up of buses on the same line arriving at a stop at the same time, and is more user-friendly with lines running in both directions on the same route, rather than the more circuitous routes that had existed previously. A new ring-route stops at all the major points in the city, and the existing popular number 6 bus has been retained.

The new buses come in two varieties: a 12-meter vehicle, carring 27 seated passengers and room for 52 to stand, with larger, 18-meter buses accomodating just over 40 seated passengers and close to 100 standing. Both types have low-floors for ease of access.

Ticket and pricing details

Current travel cards are still valid, but have to be registered on each journey; hourly bus tickets can now also be bought via a contact-less bank card. To avoid double-payment, these must be removed from bags, wallets etc. and swiped separately.

In addition, QR tickets are available from Monday, July 1, which can be registered with either a smart device or a printed ticket.

Price changes are reportedly minimal – the old one-way price of €0.83 now constitutes that for an hourly ticket, with the student price for same being €0.51. The hourly tickets supersede the old one-way ticket, speeding up the process as drivers no longer will have to issue these.

It will still be possible to buy a ticket from the driver, but these will now cost €2 as opposed to the former €1.50 price tag.

A total of 27 new busstops are being introduced, with 10 former stops being removed from routes, and 33 being renamed, but remaining in their existing location. Previously, there had been several busstops in the city which bore more than one name.

The new busstops and designs were drawn up by Disainiosakond OÜ, OÜ b210 and designer Veiko Liis, following a 2018 competition for the contract.

Graphic designs on the buses themselves were created by Karilin Tõnisoja, in conjunction with the Pallas University of Applied Sciences in Tartu, and feature well-known buildings in the city.

Further information (in Estonian - the English language page on Tartu's city government page has yet to be updated) is here.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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