Despite talk two years ago of reducing the number of ferry departures on the Rohuküla-Heltermaa route connecting the Estonian mainland to Hiiumaa from six to five during the winter off-season, the 2020 state budget will reinstate the sixth trip, regional paper Hiiu Leht writes.
When presenting next year's state budget to the Riigikogu on Wednesday, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) also touched on the subject of connections to Estonia's major western islands, including a bigger aircraft for the Tallinn-Kuressaare air link, adding departures to the Rohuküla-Heltermaa winter schedule, and acquiring an additional vessel for the Virtsu-Kuivastu route next summer.
Hiiu Municipal Mayor Reili Rand said that the municipal government had submitted a request to the state budget strategy this spring already for the addition of a sixth departure to the off-season winter ferry schedule.
"In addition to this request, we have also done active preliminary work with the operator as well as held negotiations with the prime minister, who clearly understood Hiiumaa residents' concern and supported us," Rand added.
"When submitting the state budget to the Riigikogu, the prime minister affirmed that the 2020 state budget would take this request into account and has increased the volume," she continued. "This, in turn, creates the conditions for there to be the same base schedule year round. This would also eliminate the need to change the movements of all of Hiiumaa and its residents for three winter months from January to March."
According to the municipal mayor, more detailed work with ferry operator TS Laevad and representatives of the island's businesses will now continue to develop a schedule that is satisfactory to all parties.
Editor: Aili Vahtla