Why the cost of toll roads in Norway’s major cities could increase

The cost of using roads in Norway's biggest cities could increase due to the governemnt changing the rules for the funding it gives local authorities to spend on transport and tolls.

Pictured is a car and a tractor on Storgata in Oslo.
The cost of toll roads in Norway could go up due to a governemnt change. Pictured is a car and a tractor on Storgata in Oslo.

Norway’s government has changed an agreement on local transport funding introduced under the previous administration, public broadcaster NRK reports.   

As a result, money earmarked for reducing tolls or freezing prices in Oslo, Bergen, Stavanger, and Trondheim can now be spent elsewhere. 

The government has changed the existing agreement on transport funding, which was introduced due to toll roads being a heated topic during the 2019 municipal election, to allow local authorities to increase the cost of using roads to fund other transport improvements. 

“The change means that local authorities will have greater freedom to adjust toll rates. But it must be assessed in each individual case whether local changes to the toll system will require a new submission to the Storting,” the Ministry of Transport and Communications told NRK. 

Essentially the change means that the central government contribution to urban growth planning in cities used for keeping toll road prices down has been axed. 

This means that Norway’s big cities will have around 3.7 billion collectively over the next seven years that had been allocated to reduce tolls that can now be spent on other transport projects. 

However, local councils will have to agree on how the money should be spent and whether they want to increase tolls or not. 

“If local governing authorities want to change the use of the grant funds, it must be dealt with locally politically,” the Ministry of Transport and Communications said. 

Toll prices could go up from next year if local authorities choose to raise prices, according to the ministry. Newspaper Bergens Tidende reported in June that toll rates in Bergen would return to 2020 levels. In Oslo, local politicians have signalled that they are unwilling to decrease the cost of using toll roads. 

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Oslo City Council to make public transport cheaper with new ticket

A single ticket on Oslo's public transport network could become up to 40 percent cheaper as part of a new initiative that will be unveiled when Oslo City Council presents its budget on Wednesday.

Oslo City Council to make public transport cheaper with new ticket

Oslo City Council will set aside up to 200 million kroner to try and make public transport in the Norwegian capital of Oslo cheaper, public broadcaster NRK reports. 

On Wednesday, the city council will present its budget for next year, where it will announce that funds will be set aside for making public transport a more affordable option. 

“We are launching a new ticket product. It is good news for the city’s population,” Environment and Transport Councilor Sirin Stav told NRK. 

A new ticketing option will reduce the cost of a single ticket the more somebody uses public transport. The current price of a public transport ticket on the Ruter app is 39 kroner. 

However, the new flexible ticket will benefit those who use public transport in the city frequently, but not often enough to make the 814 kroner monthly ticket worth it. The new scheme has been tested by 400 Ruter customers since February. 

NRK reports that the ticket will track how many singles you have bought in the previous 30 days. If you make less than 21 trips on Oslo’s bus, tram and metro network, the new ticketing option will be cheaper than a monthly ticket per journey. 

The Transport and Environment councillor said the new ticketing option was the result of increased demand for flexible solutions following the rise to prominence of the home office. 

“There has certainly been a demand for more flexible tickets. Ruter has worked on this over time. They first had to launch a new app, and now these new, flexible tickets are finally coming,” Stav said. 

On average, the new flexible scheme will allow passengers to save around 20 percent, and up to 40 percent in certain cases. 

When introduced, if the budget presented on Wednesday gets the green light from the city council, the new flexi-tickets will be available in Zone 1 of Oslo and parts of Bærum. 

Extending the scheme further out of Oslo would require Viken County Council to put money on the table as Ruter is partly owned by the respective county councils of Oslo and Viken.