Norway’s next government has pledged to slash ferry prices in half and scrap fares on routes that see less than 100,000 passengers per year.
“We state in the new government declaration that we want to halve ferry prices in Norway. In island communities without any connection other than a ferry, the crossing will be free. In addition, there will be a free ferry on routes with fewer than 100,000 passengers annually,” Centre Party leader Trygve Slagsvold Vedum told newspaper VG.
He added that the price cut on the ferries would help better connect the country and help people trim their travel expenses.
“This is a handshake to develop the whole of Norway. Free for the smallest places, but a halving of the ferry prices for most,” Vedum said.
The reduced fares will make cross-country travel by ferry a much cheaper and a more viable option. Express trips on a ferry from Bodø til Svolvær, for example, cost between 600 to 850 kroner (60 to 85 euro).
Taking a ferry can also be one of the best ways to see some of the country’s most famous fjords like Geirangerfjord, Nærøyfjord, the Hardangerfjord, and Nordfjord on the western side of the country.
The heavily discounted fares will be in addition to the outgoing government’s plans to cut ferry prices, which were set out in the revised national budget in May.
“It is unreasonable that those who have to take the ferry to get to work, meet family or get around with their goods, should foot the whole bill,” Labour leader and Norway’s next prime minister, Jonas Gahr Støre, told the newspaper.
Ferry prices won’t be decreased immediately but will be gradually brought down over a period of four years.
Vedum said that he hoped the price cut would help boost businesses as well as families.
Thora Gundersen, a manager at a care centre who uses a ferry to get to work every day, told VG that the news was almost too good to be true.
“This is almost too good to believe. This saves a lot of money for us,” she told the paper. She also estimated that her and her partner fork out around 76,000 kroner a year in ferry tickets.