Raimond Tamm, Project Coordinator of Lighthouse City Tartu

July Revolution in the public transport of Tartu – opinion article by Raimond Tamm

18 Feb 2020

Raimond Tamm, Project Coordinator of Lighthouse City Tartu is giving his point of view upon the current state of public transportation in Lighthouse City Tartu: "The Tartu bus transport network is not ideal and there are still many tasks and obstacles to be tackled by the city government."

He continues: "The big changes made in the Tartu public transport last summer has increased the number of public transport users. The statistics on sold tickets and number of trips made gives us the first feedback on the effect of the changes, however, for deeper insights, a more thorough analysis will be made this year.

 The changes in public transport was also voted as one of the “Good Deeds” in the annual Tartu good deed of the year competition. It is clear that users appreciate the increased frequency (several bus lines exit every 10 minutes) and the pendulum style routes. We have also received positive feedback on the new changes from many city districts, especially from Kvissental and Ihaste, where most residents are used to commuting by car. Better bus connections help them change that practice.

 When comparing the second half of 2019 to the same period in 2018, many changes are evident. Firstly, the number of rides in public buses grew by 9.7%, which also includes the number of period tickets sold, which indicates a rise in permanent public transport users. The sales of both 30- and 90-day tickets has increased, the latter by 13%.

 The new validators in all buses allow to buy single tickets with contactless payments, which has greatly increased the number of single tickets sold by bus drivers. The goal of this was to minimize the time a bus spends at the stop and it was successful: the number of tickets that bus drivers used to normally sell is now halved.

 One of the main reasons for increased car use is urban sprawl. High quality public transport can help combat that and Tartu city has been working closely with neighboring rural governments to ensure that some bus lines would also service the residents living there. After the new bus route network was launched, the second half of 2019 saw an 86% increase in the number of passengers traveling from these rural areas outside the city and in case of Luunja parish, the number increased by 63%.

 Naturally, our bus route network still faces a number of challenges. Public transport systems are complicated and detailed, and it is to be expected that improving this system is a continuous process.

 Tartu has set the goal of prioritizing walking, cycling and public transport as the main means of transport for its residents. This helps us save our invaluable environment and ensures that our children have a green, clean and safe city environment to live in."

Read full article in Estonian here: https://tartu.postimees.ee/6885828/raimond-tamm-juulirevolutsioon-bussinduses