We must get people back on public transportation. The government is committed to the goal of increasing traffic through public transportation, cycling and gongs. We are working with municipalities and counties to achieve something as we are on our way out of the COVID-19 pandemic. We also received a recent report with many suggestions on how public transportation could become more attractive to travelers, says Transport Minister John Ivar Nygaard.
When the Corona pandemic reached Norway at the beginning of 2020, it changed every day for ordinary people. Norwegian employees were required to have home offices wherever possible, and many went home to lay off workers. This resulted in a significant decrease in the use of public transportation in 2020 and 2021 compared to 2019.
Car traffic is back to normal, but not public transport After two years of coronavirus restrictions, car traffic is largely back to normal, with 95.6 percent more traffic volume compared to the traffic picture in 2019. On public transportation, one sees 67.1 percent more traffic volume compared to 2019. Most recently Figures from Ruter, which states nearly half of public transport in Norway, show that one in five, for example, has not returned to public transport.
Public transport will contribute to the green transition, and for more travelers to take trains or buses to avoid queuing in traffic, we see it necessary to change and develop public transport, says Nygaard.
Measures in the short and long term
A working group coordinated by the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, on behalf of the Ministry of Transport and Communications, has proposed measures to get more people to travel by public transport.
In the short term, the working group proposes, among other things, introducing new card concepts. This work has already begun in some cities. The working group also recommends looking into the possibilities of parking drives, cheaper public transport tickets, and making it more expensive and less beneficial to use a car and electric vehicle – especially in relation to travel to and from work.
The state has already contributed significant additional grants to keep wheels moving on public transport. Now we must make sure that the company is on its own two feet, says the Minister of Transport and Communications.
In the long term, the working group believes that one should look at public transportation as a whole, and make it easier to choose public transportation over the car. This will also make owning a car less attractive. Another suggestion is to offer different rates based on when you travel by public transport around the clock, something that will be able to reduce stress in the morning and afternoon traffic.
If more people leave the car, like a bus for example, one will have fewer queues and therefore more traffic flow. It will also help reduce the climatic and environmental impact of urban road transport. As more people use public transportation, there is a good reason to make public transportation better. Overall, it was a good circuit, says Nygaard.
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