What the papers say: Tartu's free bus route, Soodoma renamed

Estonian newspapers (photo is illustrative).
Estonian newspapers (photo is illustrative). Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

On Thursday, Oct. 24, in addition to several other major topics, the papers in Estonia also wrote about the undecided fate of Tartu's bus number 25, the village of Soodoma's historical name being restored, and Viljandi's soccer team inviting fans to Saturday's match for free in thanks for their support throughout the season.

Fate of free Tartu bus route undecided

While bus number 25, a free new bus route established in Tartu last summer as part of a year-long pilot project testing the use of an electric bus, has been popular with riders, Tartu City Government has admitted that the future of the route, which connects the city center to Tartu Railway Station and will continue to be served by a gas bus through the end of the year, is uncertain, regional paper Tartu Postimees writes (link in Estonian).

The electric bus pilot project concluded at the end of August, but Sebe took over the operation of the route through the end of the year with a gas-powered bus at a cost of €8,000 per month. As bus number 25 was not part of the city's original public transport network either before or after the entry of force of the new network this July, the future of the route will have to be decided separately.

In a survey, public transport users praised how quiet and smooth the ride was with the pilot project's electric bus, but also the route and schedule thereof itself, particularly the fact that it was timed to align with the departure and arrival times of popular Tartu-Tallinn trains, making it convenient to catch the train or get to the city center upon arriving via train.

According to city officials, a separate procurement will have to be organized in order to keep the number 25 in service, and if it is decided to go ahead and keep the route, it will continue to be served by a gas-powered bus, as the cost of the purchase and maintenance of a single electric bus would not be worth it.

Village of Soodoma renamed Erastvere

As is fitting of its Biblical namesake, the village of Soodoma, located in Põlva County's Kanepi Municipality, has been wiped off the map following a municipal council decision to merge it with the adjacent Erastvere village, the online portal of weekly Maaleht writes (link in Estonian).

Sodom and Gomorrah are the names of two cities famous for being destroyed by God in the Book of Genesis. Despite the lack of historical local roots, Soodoma, the Estonian version of the name Sodom which had originally been used derisively to refer to a particular row of farms in part of the former Erastvere, was assigned to the new village by the Place Names Committee of the Estonian SSR in 1977.

This summer, however, villagers gathered signatures and submitted an appeal to the Kanepi Municipal Council to change the name of the village back to Erastvere, a name dating back to at least the 15th century, at once removing the derogatory name from use while also expanding the village to once again cover its original territory. The decision was adoped and entered into force as soon as it was announced.

Viljandi soccer team to thank fans with free game

Viljandi JK Tulevik is playing a championship series match against JK Narva Trans at 1 p.m. on Saturday, and to thank the people of Narva, the club is offering free admission to the match, regional paper Sakala writes (link in Estonian).

JK Tulevik marketing director Marek Tiits said that despite the long and difficult season, hometown fans have devotedly continued to attend matches, bringing their attendance to top three in the league.

"We have a population of just 17,000, which means this is a very, very big accomplishment of which Viljandi can really be proud," Tiits added.

Stadium gates will open at 12 p.m., where in addition to the match itself, fans can enjoy grilled meat, potatoes and sauerkraut and live accordion music.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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