Oslo wants to relax virus rules on buses, trams and ferries

Oslo wants to relax virus rules on buses, trams and ferries
Seats on public transport in Norway must now be left empty. Photo: Ruter
Oslo's city council wants to bring guidelines for public transport in line with those in Copenhagen, with passengers allowed to sit side-by-side with one another but not face-to-face, arguing that this will increase capacity.
Arild Hermstad, the city councillor in charge of transport, warned that the current strict rules were increasingly being ignored. 
 
“As society reopens, more and more people want to use more public transport, and it becomes impossible to comply with the infection control rules,” he told state broadcaster NRK
 
The so-called 'Copenhagen model', would increase capacity from about 33 percent to 40 percent today. 
 
“Then you can have a capacity of up to 70 per cent, which will ensure that you both comply with the infection control rules and increase the mobility of those who need to use public transport,” he said. 
 
Under the current guidelines, almost every other row of seats on public transport are not in use, while stickers stuck to the floor mark where passengers can stand and where must be left empty. 
 
People in Oslo are also asked to avoid public transport if at all possible, and to buy tickets with an app to avoid unnecessary contact with the driver. 
 
According to Hermstad when buses become too crowded it is difficult for drivers to insist on people following the guidelines, with several drivers and guards put into difficult situations in recent weeks. 
 
 
“It is a major and growing challenge that today's guidelines are not being complied with by the population, and I am concerned that the respect for the authorities' guidelines is waning, 
Oslo's mayor, Raymond Johansen, said. 
 
“The government must wake up. The virus is still here, and we can't risk it blooming up again,” he added. “That is why we are now asking the government to strongly consider alternatives such as the Copenhagen model, where people can sit side by side, but not face to face.” 
 

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