Reykjavik Bus Service To Be Free On High Air Pollution Days - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Reykjavik Bus Service To Be Free On High Air Pollution Days

Published March 20, 2019

Andie Fontaine
Photos by
Art Bicnick

Plans are currently in the works to allow people to use the city bus service for free on days where air pollution reaches unhealthy levels.

Fréttablaðið reports that programming is complete to add a feature to the app for Strætó, the company which runs capital area public transport. This feature would offer a free day pass on days when air pollution in Reykjavík exceeds levels considered healthy to be outside, also known as “grey days”.

Guðmundur Heiðar Helgason, a spokesperson for Strætó, told reporters that the company has been working with numerous agencies over the past few months on the project, including the Environment Agency of Iceland, the Icelandic Met Office, and city health officials.

“We want to change people’s outlook towards air quality measurements, and get more people to use public transport, bicycles, or walking,” he said. “This isn’t just about particule air pollution, but also the air pollution that comes from cars. One way to reduce these emissions is to give the car a rest. It’s not more complicated than that.”

Air pollution has been a pervasive problem in Reykjavík, with multiple warnings issued every year advising residents to stay indoors on these “grey days”, especially children, the elderly, and those with respiratory conditions. Health officials have repeatedly pointed out that one of the best ways to reduce these emissions is to get more people to use pubic transit.

If this measure passes, which is currently being debated in Reykjavík City Hall, the new free passes may be a step in this direction.

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