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28. May 2002, students up to 32 years of age in Rogaland county shall receive a 40% discount on travel by public transport all year round. This goes beyond the government's minimum requirements for subsidised student travel.
22. May 2002, Vest Karosseri AS, Norways only bus body builder, has undergone a major restructuring which has included entering into a close strategic alliance with Brazilian bus manufacturer Busscar. The restructured company is called Vest-Busscar, although buses produced in Norway will continue to bear the "Vest" badge.
Nothing recorded for April 2002.
22. March 2002, the results of the tendering round for bus services in the north Jæren region have been released. Of the three bus service packages up for tender two were awarded to SOT (Connex Norge), and one to Nettbuss Vest. This means no change as far as operators are concerned, but users will see changes in the form of re-organised services. The operators will be encouraged to purchase a number of natural gas driven buses. Users will also see a change of liveries. Out go the familiar yellow and white of SOT and the blue of Nettbuss, in comes the green of Rogaland Kollektivtrafikk. The contracts, which start on 1. January 2003, are for five years with options to renew for a further three years.
Nothing recorded for February 2002.
3. January 2002, Olav Østerhus (61) has taken over as managing director of Connex company Østerhus Buss. He is the second generation of the family to hold the position. His father, Ola Østerhus who became known as Ola Buss, founded the company in 1933. Today the company operates 30 buses and has an annual turnover of Kr.22 million.
3. January 2002, the Norwegian Department of Transport has invited representatives from seven metropolitan areas, including Stavanger, to talks to discuss possible changes in the delegation of responsibility for the administration and development of public transport in the larger towns and cities. For Stavanger it could mean the transfer of responsibility from Rogaland fylkekommune (county council) to Stavanger kommune (city council).
14. December 2001, both Connex Øst and Nettbuss Vest have received the go-ahead to start operating a night express bus service between Stavanger and Oslo. The services will be run without any form of subsidy. The only objections came from local Arbeiderparti (Ap) politicians who wanted the concession awarded solely to Nettbuss, and from Nettbuss's parent company NSB which is afraid the competition will adversely affect its state-subsidised night train service between Stavanger and Oslo.
11. December 2001, 2 bus companies are vieing for the concession to operate a night express bus service between Stavanger and Oslo, but it now seems likely that both companies will be awarded concessions in direct competition with each other. The companies concerned are Connex Øst and Nettbuss Vest. Connex are owners of SOT in Stavanger. It was Connex Øst that came with the night express idea, but have not previously operated a service on the Stavanger - Olso route. Nettbuss already operates a day service on behalf of Norway Buss-Ekspress. Rogaland county council's public transport section who will award the concessions, will allow the companies to operate identical timetables on identical routes, but on condition that they impose a minimum fare of Kr.100,- in order to avoid competition with local bus routes. Nettbuss's parent company, NSB, the state-owned railway company, is worried that competition from the express buses could lead to the demise of its night train service between Stavanger and Oslo. The final go-ahead for the services should come from the politicians within a couple of days.
10. December 2001, managing director of SOT, Odd Aksland has expressed concern over plans to remove a number of the bus stops in Domkirkeplassen and by Kongsgård in the city-centre to allow for the development of the Tusenårssted. The bus stops in that area are those which are used most by passengers boarding and alighting in the city-centre, and Aksland fears that relocating the bus stops from this central position could lead to a drop in passenger numbers.
29. November 2001, the idea of free town buses has also been warmly received by many of Stavanger's politicians. How it would be financed is another question, but they will be watching closely any developments in Kristiansand.
28. November 2001, journalists from Stavanger newspaper Aftenbladet have again been out testing SOT bus drivers' implementation of the cheaper local fares in the central area of Stavanger. The normal minimum fare is Kr.20, but certain journeys within central Stavanger should cost only Kr10. The journalists took ten journeys within the cheap zone, but were charged the full Kr.20 on 3 of these journeys. A spokesman for SOT said that passengers should ask for the cheaper fare, but very few people in town who were asked about the cheaper fares knew anything about them. A spokesman for Ruteservice Rogaland said that it was the bus company's responsibility to inform about the correct fare for a journey, just as a shop assistant should know the correct price of the goods they sell.
24. November 2001, the idea of free travel on town bus services has been gaining momentum in Kristiansand, a town on the south coast, since local newspaper Fædrelandsvennen took up the question in August. Now are all political groups in the town, apart from the Fremskrittsparti (Frp), positive to the idea.
24. November 2001, the student newspaper Hugin suggests in a leader article that Stavanger folk would use their cars less about town if they could travel free on the town's buses. Totally unrealistic was the reply from local politician Karl W. Sandvig (Frp). All services should be paid for, including bus travel, was his opinion.
10. November 2001, SOT bus drivers who had requested the presence of police on late night journeys on the Sandnes - Riska service because of boisterous behaviour by youths, have been helped out by the "Night Ravens" who travel on the affected buses with very positive results. The Night Ravens are adult volunteers who patrol, usually in groups of three, areas where teenagers congregate in order to discourage vandalism, drunkenness and disorder and to assist and advise the youngsters where possible.
8. November 2001, statistics for October 2001 show that passenger journeys on long distance trains and express coaches have increased significantly when compared with the same period last year. These increases are largely at the expense of air travel. The statistics follow a pattern that had started long before 11. September.
30. October 2001, bus services in the Stavanger area have now been offered out for tender. It is Norway's biggest tendering of bus services. So far, it is believed that nine bus companies have shown an interest in the offer, but officials administering the offer refuse to confirm or deny this. The tenders will be opened in February 2002, and the winners will be operating services in January 2003.
25. October 2001, the natural gas driven buses introduced to Haugesund in 1993 have proved to be popular among both passengers and bus drivers. The reasons for their popularity are cleaner exhaust and lower noise levels when compared to an ordinary diesel bus. Haugaland Billag operates four gas buses, as does Nettbuss Vest in Haugesund. Haugaland Billag intends to increase its fleet of gas buses when gas distributor Gasnor, opens a new gas filling station at Flotmyr bus station. A natural gas powered bus costs about 20% more than an equivalent diesel bus, but with natural gas being about half the price of diesel fuel, the extra outlay can be easily recovered.
25. October 2001, the success of the cheap fares for students scheme together with the youth card scheme in Rogaland could lead to central government legislating a compulsory nationwide reduced fares scheme for students.
24. October 2001, the half-fare scheme on public transport for students in Rogaland has been a great success. About 1000 student tickets have been sold each month, without any noticeable decrease in the sale of ordinary monthly tickets, which suggests that the cheaper tickets have attracted new users to public transport. Politicians are now looking at other ways in which cheaper fares could be used to attract other groups to public transport.
5. October 2001, Ruteservice Rogaland has a database of all bus, train and boat departures in Rogaland. In charge is Tomas Nesheim, who has a vision of standing at a bus stop and ringing a special number on a mobile telephone, entering the bus stop's number and automatically getting the time of the next bus. The company is jointly owned by Rogaland fylkeskommune and the bus and boat companies. Use of the service it provides is free.
5. October 2001, head of research at Rogalandsforskning, Gottfried Heinzerling, hit back hard at Arne Norheim's comments on the proposed expansion of the the local railway network (see the article below). Heinzerling is of the opinion that there are enough potential passengers to make the railway expansion plans viable, and that the public are more likely to use an improved railway system than an improved bus service. An expansion of the bus service would require huge improvements in the road system in order to make it effective, something which in many cases would not be viable.
5. October 2001, at the recently held Jær Council Homes Conference, Arne Norheim, the former SR Bank chief, strongly criticised plans to spend 2 billion kroner on expanding the railway network in the Stavanger - Sandnes area. He was of the opinion that the quality of life in the region would benefit far more by the provision of an efficient bus service. He said that just the interest from the 2 billion kroner earmarked for the railway expansion would be enough to achieve this.
4. October 2001, disorder and vandalism is an increasing problem on some bus routes. Particularly badly affected are the weekend evening services from Sandnes to Ålgård and Hommersåk. The local police have said that they are willing to let an officer ride with the affected buses or for a patrol car to follow behind, circumstances permitting. It was stressed that the times when the buses get most problems are the same times that the police are at their busiest on the streets in Sandnes town-centre. SOT's traffic chief, Sverre Bø, said that tagging and vandalism, for long a problem in Stavanger, is now spreading to Sandnes. This alone is costing the company about 2 million kroner a year.
20. September 2001, Connex Norge A.S. plans to introduce a night express-coach service between Stavanger and Oslo. The company says there is a need to increase the current service between the two cities and wishes to start the new service as soon as possible with 6 departures a week in each direction. Connex Norge has its head office in Stavanger and most of its operations are in the Stavanger area, but it is the company's small Vestfold division in south-east Norway which is behind this application.
31. August 2001, Norwegian bus companies must pay Value Added Tax, currently 24%, on everything they purchase, including the buses and spare parts. Tore B. Sand, a spokesman for Stavanger's principle bus operator, SOT, said they could cut the price of a bus ride from Kr.20 to Kr.18 if they were VAT exempt, as Norwegian airlines are. A few years ago the Norwegian government removed the bus companies' tax relief on diesel fuel, with the result that bus operators pay the same fuel taxes as private motorists. The extra fuel tax received by the state was to be given to local government to help finance bus subsidies. However, local government was short-changed and received only 90% of the extra fuel tax, resulting in higher bus fares. Sand is of the opinion that if central government was serious about its environmental policy, they would do more to encourage use of public transport.
12. August 2001, the engine of a SOT bus caught fire while the bus was standing in Domkirkeplassen in Stavanger city-centre today. All passengers were safely evacuated and the fire was put out by Stavanger Fire Brigade. There was extensive damage to the engines "soft" parts.
8. August 2001, a 20 year old man was sentenced to 22 months imprisonment for the knife-point robbery of a SOT bus driver in Jernalderveien, Stavanger earlier this year.
6. August 2001, two of SOT's night-buses were the victims of vandalism when fire extinguishers were let off by two men believed to be in their early twenties. The first incident took place between Viste Hageby and Endrestø, the second incident took place about 15 minutes later at nearby Kvernevik. It is believed that the same two men were responsible for both misdeeds. The cost of cleaning up the powder is likely to be in the region of Kr.20.000.
28. July 2001. During the first 6 months of the current year NSB, the state railway company, noted a 7,8 per cent reduction in passengers on Sørlandsbanen, the line from Stavanger to the south. On the other hand, the competing express coach service from Stavanger to Kristiansand showed an increase in passengers of 8 per cent in the same period.
23. June 2001. Nils Giskeødegaard, Managing Director of Connex Norge AS, has resigned after nearly 10 years in the job. He will be replaced by Kjetil Førsvoll. Connex's Norwegian subsidiary has its head office in Stavanger. In Rogaland, Connex owns SOT, Sokndal Bilruter, and Østerhus Bilruter's bus operations.
23. June 2001. Sirdalsruta, the Tonstad (Vest Agder) based bus and goods transport company operating in Vest Agder and Rogaland, lost Kr.3,7 million last year. The company is wholly owned by Sirdal Kommune, but despite the losses, they are reluctant to sell out.
20. June 2001. On Tuesday, Rogaland County Council (fylkeskommune) approved the scheme for reduced rate bus fares for students within the county. Although this is good news for students, they fear it may be just an election year ploy to get votes, as the Council also said that the scheme would be re-evaluated after the new year. Students fear that the scheme could then be rescinded.
15. June 2001. From 1. July 2001, the travelling public will no longer be able to get bus information at the NSB railway ticket office at Sandnes. Up till now, the service has been part of an agreement with Rogaland Ruteservice AS, a company which provides travel information to callers at their office, over the telephone and on the Internet, and owned jointly by local councils and public transport companies. With a cut in their budget they can no longer afford to pay NSB to give out information on bus services.
7. June 2001. After an attempt by Rogaland fylkeskommune's adviser, to get a decision on the question of reduced bus fares for students posponed until the autumn failed, students can now look forward to cheaper bus fares in the near future. An attempt to set an upper age limit of 26 years on the scheme was also rejected, although a compromise of 32 years was eventually agreed.
7. June 2001. As reported in earlier news items, all bus routes in North Jæren will be tendered out. It is expected to attract the interest of bus companies from all corners of the land. After 2. May 2002 bus travellers in North Jæren will notice many changes to their bus services. In many cases it will be possible to take a bus across Stavanger without having to change in the city-centre and with less waiting time as well. In Sandnes there will be a host of cross-town services which go right out to places such as Kleppekrossen and Kverneland. Bus users in Randaberg and on Rennesøy will see changes, with the Rennesøy service also serving Randaberg. Randaberg will also get feeder services connecting with the main routes to Stavanger. Services from Sola to Stavanger and Sola to Sandnes will be much the same as they are today, except that they will be more frequent in the daytime. Tananger will get a direct service to Stavanger. In Stavanger the greatest changes will be seen in the Ullandhaug, Tjensvoll, Saxemarka area, around Storhaug, and in the Åsen, Auglend area. On the other hand, Hundvåg, Stokka, Byhaugen and Tasta will see little difference in services other than an increase in frequency. Buses on the route Sandnes - Stavanger via the High-school will also go to Madlakrossen. Madlasandnes will get a direct service to Stavanger, whereas Hestnes and Friheim will get a feeder bus connecting with the main service to town. The invitations for tenders will soon be ready to be sent out. The North Jæren area will be divided into three zones. Each zone must be tendered for separately, and to avoid any company getting a monopoly of bus services in the area, no company will be awarded more than two zones. Contracts will be for five years, with an option to extend for a further three years. One of the conditions to obtaining a contract will be that the majority of the buses used will not be more than 2 years old.
6. June 2001. Starting in August 2001, Rogaland fylkeskommune (county council) hope to introduce the new discounted bus fares for students. The council's public transport committee must first say yes to the scheme. If they do, they will have to find about 4 million kroner extra just for this year. Students in Rogaland will then be able to get a 40% discount when they travel by bus. It is believed that train and ferry journeys will eventually be included in the scheme.
25. April 2001. A reminder for everyone, not just those living in Stavanger. The Rutebilhistorisk Forening has its Annual Meeting and Veteran Bus Rally in Gjøvik, 1-4 June 2001. You can expect to see 40 - 50 veteran buses on show, and the opportunity to ride in some of them. So if you don't have any other plans Whitsun weekend, take a trip to Gjøvik.
11. April 2001. Sosialistisk Ungdom (Young Socialists) want a car-free town-centre in Sandnes. During a demonstration yesterday, they made cetain roads in the town centre "bus only" by painting the word "Bus" on the asphalt. The new road marking was washed away within 15 minutes by the rain, but demonstration leader Helga Eggebø was satisfied that they had been able to make their point. Sandnes needs a better and cheaper bus service.
5. April 2001. Stavanger man Frode Kleppe suggests that there should be a free bus service from the bus/railway station to the Holmen area. The roughly 1 km. long journey through the city-centre would be financed by advertising. The idea behind the suggestion is to get motorists to park their cars in the carparks on the fringes of the city-centre rather than in the city-centre itself, thus reducing congestion and air polution in central areas. Kleppe is of the opinion that the service needs to be free in order to work, and that it will not compete with the existing bus services.
3. April 2001. Politicians and administrators in Stavanger kommune (city council) are of the opinion that the reorganisation of the bus system next year must be accompanied by a greater financial input by the fylke (county council) in order that the scheme should succeed. The bus network and timetables will be simplified and be made more effective by the reduction of today's 44 routes to a planned 19 routes. This will lead to more frequent buses and make journeys easier to plan. Stavanger's head of transport planning, Hans Magnar Lien, say that this is still not good enough. The headway on many of the planned routes must be reduced from 20 minutes to 10, in addition to a reduction in fares, in order to get people out of their cars and onto the buses.
27. March 2001. A scheme, financed by Rogaland fylkeskommune, for cheaper bus travel for students in Rogaland should be in place by the autumn. The scheme will eventually be extended to cover boat and train travel. Those who should benefit most from the scheme will be students over 21, which will take in most students in higher education. Those under 21 already benefit from a cheap travel scheme for young people. All those with a valid student ID card should be eligible for the reduced bus fares.
14. March 2001. More details of the proposed 4 new bus services for Sandnes town have been released. They will cover the following routes:
Full story in Norwegian in Sandnesposten.
23. February 2001. A suggestion by an Arbeiderparti (Labour Party) politician in Stavanger kommune to use funds from central government to pay for the bus service to the city's island communities was voted out at a meeting of the City Council on Tuesday. Instead, the money will come from the County Council (Fylkeskommune). The central government funds (Kr.10m) will now be used to improve bus services in other areas. The Roads Department has suggested that Kr.6m should be used to build a bus way under the E39 motorway at Saksemarka. This, they say, could generate 70,000 extra passengers a year.
23. February 2001. Tore Jensen, a member of the public transport section of Rogaland Fylkeskommune (County Council), has made public details of the planned bus reorganisation scheme for Nord-Jæren which is scheduled to take effect in May 2002. People living in the most densely populated areas will get the most benefit from the changes. In Stavanger, many suburbs which are currently served by several low-frequency routes, will see those routes being consolidated into fewer, but more frequent routes, thus simplifying the timetables. Bus services in Stavanger, Sandnes, Randaberg, Sola, Rennesøy, Gjesdal, Klepp and Time kommunes will see changes under the plan.
3. February 2001. A 20 year old man previously known to the police has been arrested in connection with the robbery of an SOT bus driver (see previous article). The arrest came partly as a result of good witness observations. The man, who has admitted the offence, is in custody and will appear in court next Monday.
1. February 2001. On Thursday last, at about 16:30 an SOT bus driver was robbed at knife point infront of about 20 passengers. The suspect, a youth aged 16-18 years of Norwegian appearance, with red hair, possibly with streaks in it, boarded the bus in Stavanger city-centre. When the bus reached Ullandhaug, the youth threatened the driver with a dagger like knife, took the driver's money bag, then made off on a new looking bicycle which was parked, unlocked, near the bus stop. The police, so far, have no information as to the robber's identity.
30. January 2001. Families living at Fløysvik, one of the more remote communities in Sandnes kommune, have given a positive, if guarded, reaction to the planned introduction of "taxi" buses in rural Sandnes (see previous news item). As it stands now, Fløysvik folk have only the school buses, which give only a very limited service. When the schools are closed, there are no buses at all.
29. January 2001. A new town bus service could be in place in Sandnes within 2 years, and the more remote areas of Sandnes kommune could have "taxi" buses, available on request, replacing very low frequency services with full-sized buses. The plan for Sandnes town is to have 4 local routes serving Sandnes's suburbs departing at 20 minute intervals, all meeting at the town-centre at the same time in order to make quick bus changes possible to enable speedy journeys across town. Evening and weekend departures would be less frequent. The plan has been put forward by Gottfried Heinzerling, a senior researcher at Rogaland Research Institute at the request of Rogaland fylkeskommune.
21. January 2001. An anomaly in the fares system means that bus passengers travelling through Sandnes town-centre must pay more than passengers making a similar journey through Stavanger city-centre. The reason for this is that where through journeys are concerned, Stavanger city-centre has been earmarked as a "free" zone, whereas Sandnes town-centre has not. This system has been in operation since 1994.
19. January 2001. Politicians in Rogaland Fylkeskommune have found money to go part of the way to restoring the frequency of the bus service between Stavanger city-centre and Hundvåg to the level it was before the 15. May 2000 bus cuts. Starting Monday 22. January 2001 the weekday service will see departures every 5 minutes from 06:30 until 08:30 and then a 10 minute service until 13:00, then back to a 5 minute service until 18:00. The Saturday service will run more often than it did before the cuts, and the Sunday morning service will be restored. After the high frequency service was first introduced on the Hundvåg route, passenger traffic increased by about 20 percent. After the 15. May cuts passenger traffic on the route fell by 17 percent. Within the next few weeks a new plan for restructuring bus services in the Stavanger-Sandnes area will go before the local politicians. This will include a new town-centre service for Sandnes.
17. January 2001. Stavanger Aftenblad again takes up the question in two articles of the reduced price "Short Hop" fares, introduced 15. May 2000 in order to encourage more use of buses for short journeys in central areas. It appears that the travelling public are still ignorant about the arrangement. Bus drivers in the Sandnes area are particularly diligent and will issue the cheaper ticket where applicable without being asked. SOT drivers spoken to believe that introducing the lower fare in all areas during the off-peak period would attract more passengers onto the buses.
10. January 2001. On average, 50 - 60 emergency hammers are being stolen from SOT buses every week. Nettbuss Vest is also being plagued by the same problem. The hammers are mounted on the inside of buses and are for breaking window glass in emergency situations. The thieves apparently use them for breaking car windows and for scratching grafitti onto glass in bus windows. As well as the financial costs to the bus companies, there is the safety factor for passengers who could find themselves trapped in an over-turned bus after an accident with no way out. It has got to the stage where SOT is now considering breaking the law by removing those hammers which are left, and just fitting them for the annual roadworthyness certificate.
10. January 2001. SOT (Stavanger og Omegen Trafikkselskap), has fitted 5 buses which regularly travel routes where tunnels are used, with fully automated fire extinguishing equipment in the engine compartments. SOT are the first bus company in Norway to do this. SOT successfully tested the equipment on a decommisioned bus last November. Buses which ply the Stavanger - Bergen express service have been the first to be fitted as they used some of the world's longest under-sea road tunnels. Eventually all buses regularly using tunnels will be fitted with the equipment.
23. December 2000. A new under-sea road tunnel (Europe's longest) in Sunnhordland in western Norway, on the route linking Stavanger and Bergen, will open on 27. December 2000. It will reduce the number of ferries the Stavanger-Bergen express bus has to take to two. It will also cut about 30 minutes off the journey time.
9. December 2000. Kr.10 million which Rogaland fylkeskommune thought was theirs to spend on public transport, was earmarked by Storting (parliament) for public transport in Stavanger it has been revealed. This was part of a one-off payout by Storting to bolster public transport in Norway's largest cities. Rogaland fylkeskommune must now confer with Stavanger kommune on use of the money.
16. November 2000. Bus services are much better in the rural parts of Sandnes kommune than most people believe, if only they knew about them, say bus drivers for Rogaland Taxi. Rogaland Taxi operates school buses and invalid transport services on contract to Sandnes kommune (borough council), whereas SOT operates bus services on contract to Rogaland fylkeskommune (county council). Had there been better contact between the two levels of local government the bus services could have been better integrated and thus given a better service to the public.
15. November 2000. NSB (Norwegian State Railways) is selling its road goods transport subsidiary with its 230 trucks and 300 employees to the Norwegian Post Office. The company will now concentrate its non-rail business on Nettbuss, its bus operating subsidiary.
1. November 2000. On average, only 4 people a day have taken advantage of the new kr.10 bus fare for short journeys within the centre of Sandnes. Since the new low fare was introduced on 15. May this year, Nettbuss Vest has sold only 291 tickets, and SOT 242. This is in contrast to Egersund in the south of the county, where Nettbuss Vest has sold 3000 of the 'quick hop' tickets in the same period. Reasons for the poor results in Sandnes can be the very small area in which the offer is available coupled with very little publicity.
1. November 2000. Rogaland Fylkeskommune's chaotic public transport policy takes another twist. In the suggested budget for next year the public transport share will be CUT by 2,5% (Kr.10 million). Another Kr.20 million raised from the new road tolls to be introduced next year, and promised by the Fylkeskommune for public transport, have also evaporated. This will mean yet higher fares and service cuts for Rogaland's battered public transport.
25. October 2000. It appears that not all bus drivers are familiar with the lower fare for short journeys within Stavanger's inner zone. Here the fare should be kr.10 instead of the normal kr.20. When Aftenbladet (Stavanger's evening newspaper), carried out 11 test journeys within the "cheap" kr.10 zone they were charged the kr.20 fare 5 times. SOT has recently announced that they will end the "cheap" zone arrangement in the New Year as it has not resulted in an increase in passenger traffic. When Aftenbladet looked on buses and around bus stops for information about the cheap fares, they found nothing, not even in Byterminalen (Stavanger Bus Station). When they asked for information on the fares at the bus station Service desk, they were told that no such information existed.
18. October 2000. SOT route 772 from Madla to Randaberg ran for the last time today. As a result between 25 and 50 school pupils at Randaberg Videregåendeskole and a number of workers have lost a direct link between Madla and Randaberg. The 772 went from Madla at 07.30 and got the pupils to school before 08.00. The pupils now have to take a bus at 07.05 from Madla to Stavanger city centre, and from there a bus out to Randaberg, effectively doubling the journey time. The route change was ordered by Rogaland fylkeskommune after receiving a number of letters and telephone calls from commuters to Forus who disliked having to change onto a Nettbuss route at Stavanger Høyskole. The SOT route now runs virtually parallel to the Nettbuss route, something which the Fylkeskommune is normally against. The change was made without any consultation with the existing users of the 772. Tore Sand, a spokesman for SOT said that the company will revert to the old route if the Forus commuters do not make good use of the bus.
17. October 2000. Hordaland Fylkeskommune will use kr.3 million in subsidies for students on public transport next year, this despite a kr.100 million budget deficite. Rogaland fylkeskommune on the other hand, cannot promise any similar arrangement for its students.
16. October 2000. Rogaland Fylkeskommune (County Council) has just publicised its strategy for the county's bus services which will be put into action after the forthcoming tendering rounds for the county's bus routes. The keystone to this strategy will be more frequent services on the busiest routes, but at the expense of services on lightly used services. More funds will be channelled into public transport from income from the ring of toll stations being set up on all roads into Stavanger. At present only about 7 per cent of journeys made in the Stavanger area are by public transport. The aim is to increase this by 30 to 40 per cent.
9. October 2000. Sandnes bus station will get better railings, better information boards, and more benches. But a lift up to the railway station and public toilets will have to wait, despite there being enough money in Sandnes kommune's budget to pay for these. The kommune has held back on the public toilets because a project is under way to get advertisement financed toilets installed. A lift up to the railway station is not likely to be installed in the near future as there is already a ramp for wheelchair users and any plans for a lift would also have to involve NSB (Norwegian State Railways).
4. October 2000. Tour operator Haga Reiser expects further redundancies as a result of the fusion with Nor Reiser. Haga split its tour and bus operations at the beginning of this year. Whereas Haga Reiser is suffering serious losses, Haga Buss is expected to break even this year and go into profit next year.
3. October 2000. A 2 hour strike by bus drivers will take place on Wednesday 4. October from midday till 2 p.m. affecting most of Norway's buses. Express services will not be affected. The strike is a 'political' strike against working conditions generally in the bus industry. During the strike, drivers will hand out leaflets to the public. Stavanger og Omegn Trafikkselskap's (SOT) 250 drivers will take part. Drivers are particularly sceptical about the tendering system for bus routes which will be introduced next year.
27. September 2000. Students in Stavanger are demanding lower bus fares for students over 21 years of age. At present all those aged between 16 and 21 and in full time education can buy a monthly travel card for Kr.250 which is valid on buses, trains and ferries throughout Rogaland county. Once students reach 21 years of age though, they must pay Kr.480 for a monthly card which is valid only on buses within one travel zone. On Friday the students' action committee will meet with the leader of the county council when they will demand a 50% reduction in the price of a monthly travel card during term time for the zone which the individual students normally use.
15. September 2000. The money which Rogaland Fylkeskommune (Rogaland County Council) hopes to save by offering bus and boat routes for tender next year will be used to introduce new routes. Tendering for bus routes will begin in November 2001, and the winners will start operations on 1. May 2002 if all goes to plan.
2. September 2000. The May 15. cuts in bus services ordered by Rogaland Fylkeskommune (County Council) have resulted in 7000 fewer passengers from Hommersåk and Ålgård to Sandnes in the period May to July. This is a direct result of the scrapping of "commuter route" 230 between Sandnes and Stavanger. This drop in passenger traffic and the resulting drop in income has put SOT in the position where they must make yet more cuts in services in order to cut their losses.
2. September 2000. Stavanger's main bus operator SOT, is for the first time deeply in the red according to the company's results for the first half of this year. Managing director Odd Aksland said that this will most likely lead to cuts in services on the least used routes. The final decision will be made in the course of September, but the most likely target for cuts in services are the lightly trafficated rural routes. Redundancies amongst bus drivers is not expected, although hiring of new drivers will stop. Ola Steensnæs, leader of the County Council's transport sub-committee, hopes that bus services will improve in 2001 as the result of increased competition when all bus routes will be tendered out.
1. September 2000. Stavanger residents needn't have been worried when they saw an SOT bus in the trees at the bottom of an embankment. The deregistered Arna bodied Volvo B10M had come to the end of its service life, but before going to the scrapyard, Stavanger photographer Torbjørn Rødland had decided to immortalise it as a work of art. Pictures of the bus will feature in an exhibition by 23 artists at Rogaland Kunstmuseum on Saturday 9. September 2000.
29. August 2000. Nearly 400 people attended a meeting at Roaldsøy school in Stavanger yesterday evening to vent their anger about the poor level of bus services to the "town" island of Hundvåg and the many smaller islands surrounding it. It was representatives of Rogaland Fylkeskommune (County Council), and SOT (Stavanger's main bus operator), who bore the brunt of the onslaught and who passed on the blame to central government.
25. August 2000. The cost of travel on buses, trams and trains in Norway has increased fivefold since 1980. A bus ticket in Bergen and Olso then cost Kr.4, the same ticket today costs Kr.19 and Kr.20 respectively. Had fares increased in line with the consumer price index, those tickets would have cost just over Kr.10 today. Another survey shows that among Scandinavian capital cities, Oslo in Norway is the dearest to commute in. A monthly season ticket covering a 55 km. journey into Oslo was found to be over three times the price of a season ticket for a similar journey into Sweden's capital, Stockholm.
19. August 2000. The Rogaland section of the Transporthistorisk Forening (Historical Transport Society) held an exhibition of preserved commercial transport in Stavanger city-centre today. The society is an umbrella organisation for many other groups and individuals interested in the preservation of all kinds of commercial transport, from buses to boats, tractors to trains, to trucks and fire engines. Also represented were private motor-cars and motor-cycles. The Rogaland section of the Rutebilhistorisk Forening (Historical Bus Society) exhibited four vehicles, two of which were ferrying visitors up to the railway station where they were transfered to a train drawn by a preserved NSB steam locomotive. The trip went full circle when the visitors were returned to the exhibition site by the preserved ferry Riskafjord II. The day was marked by sunshine, a rare sight in Stavanger this summer! Pictures of the event will be appearing soon on this website.
18. August 2000. The start of the new school year hasn't been problem free on the buses. Buses on SOT route 169 from Stavanger city-centre to Randaberg were so full that school pupils were left standing at the bus stops. The problem repeated itself in the afternoon for the homeward journey. An extra bus has now been slotted into the schedule in order to spread the load. SOT based their schedules on figures given by the schools office at the end of the summer term.
21. July 2000. The cuts in bus services in Rogaland which took effect in May this year are in focus again. Many people attending church in Stavanger on Sunday mornings are now having to use their cars instead of the bus. For some of those without their own transport, it means relying on the generosity of others. One church leader has approached Stavanger's main bus operator with the problem but according to an SOT spokesman the outlook for Sunday bus services isn't any better.
20. July 2000. Nor-Way Bussekspress's Kystbussen express coach service between Stavanger and Bergen is gaining passengers at the expense of the HSD Flaggruten high speed catamaran ferry service. The increase in bus traffic started in Spring 1999 when the route frequency was significantly increased. It received another surge in traffic after the tragic loss of the "Sleipner" in November. This growth has continued throughout the first half of 2000. Nor-Way Bussekspress looks forward to a further increase in passenger traffic when improvements in the road connection between Stavanger and Bergen are opened in December, cutting up to an hour off the present journey time.
19. July 2000. Norway's express coach operator, Nor-Way Bussekspress, has announced an 8 percent increase in passengers for the first half of 2000. Turnover for the period was nearly Kr.135 million, an increase of Kr.18 million compared to the same period last year. Greatest growth in traffic was on the Stavanger to Bergen route, known as Kystbussen (The Coastal Bus), with a 55 percent increase in passengers.
13. July 2000. Norway's two biggest coach tour operators, Sandnes based Haga Reiser, and Alvdal based Nor Reiser are to merge. Both tour companies have been struggling to make ends meet, and it is hoped that this fusion together with a change of strategy will get the companies on their feet again. The companies' respective coach operating divisions will remain separate, but their services will continue to be bought by the new fusioned tour operator.
21. June 2000. Stavanger city council (Stavanger kommune) member Odd Kristian Reme claimed at a recent council meeting that the County Council (Fylkeskommune) which manages the transport budget, leans too far in favour of the rural districts when apportioning transport funds. He suggests that local councils should take over responsibility for their own transport budgets as they know their own needs best. Reaction to the suggestion was mixed.
10. June 2000. The Norwegian Roads Authority (Statens vegvesen Vegdirektoratet) has recommended new regulations for the use of seat belts by passengers under 15 years on buses. The suggested new regulations will effect only touring coaches as it is only these which are fitted with passenger seat belts. The responsibility for use of the seat belts will lie with the driver, who will be liable to a fine if a child passenger is found not using a belt. This has caused protest among drivers at SOT's Sandnes depôt where a number of touring vehicles are used on local bus routes during the winter months. The drivers say that it is impractical for them to enforce the suggested new regulations.
2. June 2000. Motorists driving over Hafrsfjord bridge near Stavanger had a shock when they saw a bus half submerged in the sea below, surrounded by the emergency services. The incident however was not what it seemed, and had been set up by the fire brigade as an exercise. Unfortunately someone had forgotten to erect signs at the roadside to inform passing motorists of what was going on. Fire inspector Jan Vervik apologised for the oversight.
24. May 2000. After the recent cuts in bus services, Rogaland Fylkeskommune (County Council) have come with a new blow against those who use public transport. The minimum adult single fare for a bus journey will be raised from Kr.17 (about$2) to Kr.20 (about $2.40). The new fares will start possibly as soon as 15. June, or at the latest 1. July.
20. May 2000. The recent bus cuts in the Stavanger area are hitting schoolchildren living in rural areas particularly hard. Many have found that they cannot get to school on time, or have had their journey times drastically lengthened, or that there isn't a bus at all!
19. May 2000. The bus cuts in the Stavanger area brought about by a reduction in Rogaland county council's transport budget have begun to bite. Church goers on Sunday mornings have found that the buses they previously used are no longer running.
9. May 2000. A bus caught fire this morning just as it exited the 5.86 km. long Byfjord Tunnel on the island of Sokn, north of Stavanger. Firemen from Stavanger, Randaberg and Rennesøy attended the scene and got the fire under control soon after. There were no reports of casualties.
4. May 2000. Route 230, a popular route with commuters to Stavanger, and which carries about 30,000 passengers a month, is to run its last trip between Sandnes and Stavanger on 15. May. This has been decided by politicians in Rogaland county council. The route, which uses comfortable dual-purpose coaches and drives the E39 motorway between Forus and Stavanger, is particularly popular with commuters living south of Sandnes because it gives them a fast, direct link with Stavanger without having to change bus. The politicians' viewpoint is that there is adequate alternative capacity on the Nettbuss routes which travel the 'slow road' (RV44) between Sandnes and Stavanger. They do not believe this cut will drive the commuters to their cars.
29. April 2000. 'Bydelsbussen', a bus service operated by SOT between the city-centre, the district hospital and the Åsen district, south of the city-centre, is to be cut after 6 years operation. The route was operated by midi-buses (see pictures of Volvo B6 and Hino midi-buses) which could negotiate the narrow residential streets which they plied. Last day of operation is 14. May. This service is a victim of the cuts in county council bus subsidies.
28. April 2000. SOT, Stavangers main bus operator, will have to reduce annual mileage by 12% in order to meet cuts ordered by Rogaland Fylkeskommune (Rogaland County Council). One victim of the cuts will be the weekend operation of the feeder service which takes passengers from the town islands of Bjørnøy, Roaldsøy and Ormøy to Hundvåg, to connect with the bus into Stavanger city-centre.
28. April 2000. Due to drastic cuts in bus subsidies from Rogaland Fylkeskommune (Rogaland County Council), SOT, Stavanger's main bus operator, has just published a new timetable reflecting the new economic situation. For the company it means a reduction of 1.2 million bus kilometres per year, which is 12% of the annual mileage driven. It also means that up to 30 drivers will be laid off. For the travelling public it will mean the loss of many evening and weekend bus services.
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