Yesterday’s announcement from capital area bus service company Strætó that they were ceasing all operations of the night bus has spurred a heated public discussion, not least of all within the halls of Parliament.
Amongst the points raised in the public discussion was that when the night bus was launched last July, Strætó offered assurances that it would not cause financial problems for the company, and that last month’s fare hikes were justified by saying that this was the only way to avoid cutting services. With this service now cut, with the reason given that it was not used enough to justify the expense, many regular bus riders are puzzled and angry.
The matter has made it to Parliament as well, RÚV reports, with Pirate Party MP Arndís Anna Kristínardóttir saying that public transport is in a dire situation in this country. She outlined the importance of the night bus in particular, saying:
“That people get home in a safe and simple way after a night out is not some pet project; it is both a matter of equality and not least of all public safety,” saying that the longer people are made to wait downtown under the influence trying to get home, the more likely it is that things will go wrong. “We of course do not want people to drive home under the influence, nor is it especially wise to ride a scooter after a few cold ones, so there must be other options on offer.”
Arndís says that public transport is not supposed to be a tool of profit but a basic public service, saying, “At the same time as the government has doled out tens of billions [of krónur] in paying down electric cars and hybrids, which are first and foremost for well-off people, only one [billion] has been devoted to public transport. This is an environmental issue, an equality issue, a safety issue and it is in the public interest to support public transport for all.”
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