TALLINN - The Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications has commissioned an analysis that seeks to facilitate the creation of a single public transport system for Tallinn, Harju County and northern Rapla County; the analysis is planned to be finalized by summer 2021.
In the long-term perspective, the ministry plans to establish a countrywide transport system where separate single bus and train tickets no longer need to be purchased, instead, passengers' transport fare would be destination-based regardless of their means of transport, spokespeople for the ministry said.
In order to analyze the capital city's public transport system, the state has signed an agreement with Finnish company Flou Oy, which in cooperation with Estonian partner Inphysica Technology OU will create a preliminary vision for the public transport route network planned to exceed local government borders and involve several types of transport.
AS Civitta Eesti has been included as a second contract partner and tasked with mapping out ways how the City of Tallinn, North Estonia Public Transport Center and Estonia's domestic passenger train operator Elron could cooperate in order to offer a convenient and coherent public transport service involving various means of transport.
"While we may be accustomed to the existing system, it is neither convenient nor reasonable. We could organize mobility much better while also offering a service that meets people's needs," Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas said in a press release.
Aas noted that the aim is to eliminate the need for several public transport-related cards and websites.
"We will bring them all together in one channel, both the trip planner and payment, so that the journey from A to B should be convenient and fast despite connections," the minister said.
At the initiative of Aas and Mayor of Tallinn Mihhail Kolvart, a mobility council was formed for the Tallinn region at the end of last year and tasked with combining the public transport systems of Tallinn and Harju County. The planned analysis is the first step towards that goal.
"The core of the Tallinn development strategy for mobility services is a fast public transport network based on tramways and express buses, supported by regular buses, bike share, short-term vehicle hire and ride-sharing. The average travel time on public transport between the city center and centers of gravity should not last for any longer that 20 minutes," Kolvart said.
The Tallinn mayor added that the capital city is about to establish a joint regional ticketing system and route network in cooperation with its neighboring local governments, which means that the Tallinn public transport card can also be used in all the neighboring rural municipalities and vice versa.
It is not yet known when the soon-to-be created system can be launched, but according to the preliminary vision, updates to the public transport system should begin in the second half of 2021 and be fully implemented within the next few years. Detailed activities and timeline will be determined after the completion of the analysis.
"While the creation of a joint public transport system may take some time, we want to create a thorough and functional solution that can be expanded to cover all of Estonia in the future," Aas said, adding that in the future, passengers will be paying a destination-based fare instead of buying single tickets for each ride.
The analysis, the cost of which is 110,000 euros, will be financed from the European Social Fund.