Why some ferry routes in Norway will be completely free this summer

Some ferry connections in Norway will be free of charge to everyone from July under a new government scheme. Here's what you need to know. 

Pictured is a Fjord 1 ferry.
The government is set to make ferries with low passenger numbers free of charge, according to reports. Pictured is a Fjord 1 ferry. Photo by Meriç Dağlı on Unsplash.

Travel on ferries with less than 100,000 passengers annually will become completely free from July 1st, public broadcaster NRK reports. 

The government pledged to make all ferry connections with less than 100,000 passengers free of charge when it was formed last October to try and make transport easier for rural and coastal communities and boost tourism. 

The government is set to put aside 39 million kroner from the revised national budget to fund the scheme. The refreshed budget will be presented later this week. 

“The ferry tickets are very expensive, and this is a concrete contribution that will make it easier for industry and permanent residents (along the coast),” Trygve Slagsvold Vedum, Minister of Finance, told newswire NTB. 

Under the new scheme, as many as 39 routes across Norway could become completely free of charge, according to data on passenger numbers from The Ferry Database (Ferjedatabanken). 

The database’s numbers are from 2019, as this was the last year that the pandemic didn’t disrupt travel. 

Vedum added that government still has its sights set on reducing ferry prices by 50 percent by 2025.

The scheme where connections with low passenger numbers are made entirely free is likely to cost the government around 165 million kroner per year, the finance ministry informed NTB. 

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TRANSPORT: What you need to know about Oslo’s Fornebu line

After months of uncertainty, a new metro line between Majorstuen and Fornebu has been given the green light to go ahead by Oslo City Council and Viken County Council. Here’s what residents need to know about the T-bane link. 

TRANSPORT: What you need to know about Oslo’s Fornebu line

A new metro line between Majortstuen in Oslo and Fornebu in Bærum, just west of Oslo, has been given the green light, ending uncertainty over its future for the time being. 

Earlier this year, the project faced the axe due to spiralling costs, which saw the estimated price tag of the new metro line rise by 7 billion kroner. 

Oslo’s newest T-bane line will be the most significant investment in the metro system since the 60s or 70s, according to Sirin Stav from Oslo City Council. 

Since the airport at Fornebu closed in 1998, several links between the peninsula and the city centre have been pitched. 

The new 8-kilometre-long metro line will cost more than 31.0 billion kroner to complete. 

Construction on the project has already begun, and six new underground stations will be built. These are Skøyen, Vækerø, Lysaker, Fornebuporten, Flytårnet and Fornebu Senter. Plans will also see Majorstuen Metro Station upgraded. 

Fornebu, the former site of Oslo Airport, is home to a business park, shopping and residential areas. There are plans to build more than 11,000 new homes in the area and create 20,000 new jobs, according to Oslo Municipality

READ ALSO: What you might not have known about Oslo’s Diechman Bjørvika library

Oslo Municipality hopes the new line will provide an eco-friendly and accessible route between Fornebu and the city centre. Current bus routes are usually pretty busy, leading to many people driving in and out of the former site of Oslo airport. 

The stop at Majorstuen will connect the new line with the existing metro network in Oslo. 

Despite construction already starting nearly two years ago, it is unlikely the new line will open before 2029. 

Financing for the project comes from the government, the municipality, landowners, and the Oslo Package 3 toll agreement. 

As a result of the project going ahead, tolls as part of the Oslo Package 3 agreement will rise by 40 percent. This will happen in two steps, the first from September, with the second rise coming on January 1st 2024.