From Iceland — The Night Bus Bids Farewell

The Night Bus Bids Farewell

Published October 18, 2022

In a brief announcement posted to their website, Reykjavík area bus service Strætó have informed the public that the last night bus took its last route on October 16th. This is despite having previously said that the service would not impact the company’s financial performance, and that raising fares was the only option apart from cutting certain services.

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“The Strætó board approved on July 4 to start driving the night bus on weekends for a trial period until the end of September,” the announcement reads in part. “Now that the trial period has ended, the expectations regarding the number of passengers on the night bus have not been met, even though an increased number was expected this autumn when employees returned from summer vacations and schools started again. Passenger numbers each weekend were around 300 to 340 passengers, an average of 14 to 16 per trip, which is well below acceptable standards.”

Strætó concluded by saying that the company’s financial difficulties coupled with the low ridership of the night bus could not justify keeping it going beyond the trial period. Last July, however, Strætó CEO Jóhannes S. Rúnarsson told reporters that the night bus would not significantly add to Strætó’s financial issues.

The news comes just a couple weeks after Strætó announced it was raising fares sharply to make up for financial losses being incurred due to the energy crisis in Europe and the ongoing COVID pandemic. Raising fares, Strætó said at the time, was the only option besides cutting services.

Kjarninn furthermore points out that the night bus was a campaign promise of both the Progressive Party and the Pirate Party. The Reykjavík City Council majority also promised that grade school children, who are typically under the age of 16, would ride the bus fare-free, but all children over the age of 11 still have to pay fares.

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