Oslo –public transport Nirvana
Hanne Bertnes Norli from Ruter
Weds January 15th 2014
Members Restaurant, Scottish Parliament 6-8pm
Hosted by Gordon Macdonald MSP
Chaired by journalist and NH Director Lesley Riddoch
Oslo, Edinburgh and Glasgow have a lot in common. The population of the Norwegian capital is 593k, Edinburgh 495k and Glasgow 598k. But Oslo transport leaves its Scottish cousins standing with 6 cross-city tram lines with 99 stops, 6 cross-city underground train lines, 60 bus lines and 6 passenger ferry lines to neighbouring towns and the peninsula of Nesodden. Car transport is not forbidden – there’s an expanding network of inner city tunnels -- but it’s taxed. Drivers are charged (roughly £3) every time they enter the city. All Oslo public transport -- buses, trams, underground trains (t-bane), ferries and local trains – are part of the same ticket and price system.
The Oslo Tramway is a 131 kilometre network with daily passenger numbers of 110,000. The new Edinburgh line will be just 14 kilometres long. Oslo electric trams began in 1894 but after World War II, diesel buses started to replace trams, line closures began in 1947 and in 1960 the city council voted to dismantle the entire system in favour of buses. But in 1977 trams were saved and new rolling stock was ordered to supplement the aging fleet. In 1995 a line to the refurbished waterfront at Aker Brygge was opened (connecting with ferries to nearby towns and the peninsula of Nesodden) and in 1999 an existing line was extended to the University of Oslo campus and the new Rikshospitalet national hospital – precisely the kind of destinations included in the original two line proposal for Edinburgh.
So what saved Oslo trams in 1977? How can Oslo afford so much public transport -- much of it installed before the oil began to flow? Does road pricing work and why is Oslo spending millions on tunnels to bring cars into the inner city? And does bus deregulation make it impossible for out cities to emulate Oslo today?
Speaker and meeting notes
Hanne Bertnes Norli works for Ruter – the public transport authority which issues contracts for all public transport in Oslo.
Her slide presentation is available for download here. Download 'Ruter in Edinburgh' (approx 8 Mb )
An audio recording of the event was made.
In the second section of the audio recording, Hanne answers questions from the audience. This section is just over one hour long.