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Working to increase public transport’s popularity in Norway

Posted: 30 June 2015 | Audun M. Solheim, Head of Strategy and Development, Kolumbus

Transporting approximately 65,000 bus passengers every day, Audun M. Solheim, Head of Strategy and Development at Kolumbus, gives an overview of Rogalund’s bus structure…

Working to increase public transport popularity

Kolumbus AS is an independent public transport authority fully owned by Rogaland County Municipality – the regional governing administration of Rogaland, Norway. Rogaland is inhabited by close to 500,000 people and covers around 10,000km2 in the south-western parts of Norway. Half the population lives in and around Stavanger, Rogaland’s main city, while most of the region is quite sparsely populated. Transporting approximately 65,000 bus passengers every day, Audun M. Solheim, Head of Strategy and Development at Kolumbus, gives an overview of Rogalund’s bus structure, including running a fleet on alternative fuels, mobile ticketing developments, the benefits of passenger counting, plus the usefulness of real-time information and travel planning aps.

In total, Kolumbus transports 65,000 bus passengers every day, adding up to around 23 million passengers a year. Approximately 75% of the bus passengers travel in and around Stavanger. A long coastline and several fjords characterise the county’s geography, and although public transport by bus is our main activity, we also transport almost a million passengers by boat every year. Stavanger is considered the oil capital of Norway, and the relatively wealthy population has had a tradition of choosing private cars over public transportation. However, with a growing population and increasing rush hour traffic, there is a growing awareness of the benefits of public transport, and efforts are being made on various levels to increase public transport’s popularity.

Infrastructure

Until recently, there has been few bus lanes in Rogaland, hence the buses have been queuing together with private cars. The Busway 2020 project is radically changing the situation, establishing a busway going through the busiest parts of the Stavanger area, connecting some of the most important junctions. The project’s working title is Metro On Wheels as the buses run in separate lanes in the middle of the street with car lanes on each side, going straight through roundabouts. The busway will be 40km-long and the yearly production has been estimated at four million route-kilometres. Designated buses will operate the busway, and we assume no ticketing will take place on board. Busway 2020 will greatly improve the punctuality and frequency of Kolumbus’ services…

 

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