One year has passed since Akureyri residents, in northeast Iceland, were offered free bus rides for the first time. Passengers have increased steadily and currently almost ten percent of inhabitants, or 1,600 people, take the bus every day on average.
At first, mostly children and teenagers took advantage of this free service, but now more adults have begun using public transport and leaving their cars at home, Morgunbladid reports.
Already in January 2007, passengers on the town’s buses had increased by 60 percent compared to January 2006, when bus rides weren’t free. In February 2007, passengers had increased by 78 percent compared to February the previous year. Last fall the year-on-year increase had risen to 130 percent.
“I was certain that the number of passengers would increase a little, but not this much,” said Stefán Baldursson, director of SVA, the Akureyri Bus Company, who is extremely satisfied with the growing popularity of public transport.