Iceland’s bus system has not carried as many passengers as it does now in about ten years, despite rising fares and cuts to service.
Bus service in Reykjavík has struggled to meet the needs of passengers while still keeping itself economically viable. In the past ten years, fares have increased by about 130%. The Grapevine spoke to city councilperson Einar Örn Benediktsson, who is also the city’s liaison to Strætó hf., about the matter, who said at the time in part, “The question is, when limited financial resources are available, how much are you willing to pay for a better system?”
It would appear as though despite the delicate balance the system finds itself in, bus passengers have been on the rise. Vísir reports that Einar Kristjánsson, the organisation and development manager for Strætó, said that there has been a 20% increase in passengers over the past year. There have not, in fact, been more passengers on the city’s buses since the company was established in 2001.
He attributes the rise to the numerous ways in which people can have access to bus information – such as through the phone or online – as well as service to farther afield destinations such as Akranes and Hveragerði.
The most common passengers on the buses are people going to and from work, and the system has picked up and dropped of approximately 9 million passengers in the past year alone.