Tallinn against moving bus terminal

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Tallinna bussijaam.

PHOTO: Liis Treimann

Tallinn city government finds that it is not reasonable to relocate the Tallinn Bus Station to the Ülemiste district near Tallinn Airport and that it should be left in its current location on Lastekodu Street.

In connection with the preparation of an architectural idea competition and the drawing up of a detailed plan for the Ülemiste terminal in the framework of the Rail Baltic railway project, the city is drawing the attention of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications to the fact that when planning a long-distance bus terminal by the Ülemiste railway terminal, it must be taken into account that it will start to compete with the current Tallinn Bus Station.

"According to the Public Transport Act, the operation of long-distance bus routes and the bus stations necessary for servicing them is carried out on a commercial basis. In Tallinn, the only long-distance bus station is operated by Tallinna Bussijaam AS owned by Mootor Grupp AS," it is said in a letter by Tallinn Deputy Mayor Kalle Klandorf to deputy secretary general for transport at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications Ahti Kuningas.

"The City of Tallinn lacks the legal basis for restricting both the number and location of bus stations in the city. In addition, we are of the opinion that from the perspective of passenger convenience, long-distance buses should get as close to the center of the city as possible. This means that we believe the current location of the bus station as the final stop is preferred over the location in front of the Ülemiste terminal," Klandorf said.

However, the deputy mayor said that a bus stop with a greater service capability should be planned in front of the Ülemiste terminal where long-distance, county and local bus lines could make stops. In conclusion, when preparing the architectural idea competition of the Ülemiste terminal, the terminal should be considered as an intermediate stop but not as a final terminal.

As the Ülemiste district of the city of Tallinn is becoming home to the airport, tram and public transport links and a European train passenger terminal, the Union of Estonian Automobile Enterprises in September made a proposal to Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Kadri Simson that the Tallinn Bus Station should also be located in the given area.

"The development of the urban space of Tallinn and the Ülemiste traffic junction has created perfect conditions for passengers who have come from different parts of Estonia and use public transport. The tram route takes passengers arriving by long-distance buses quickly and conveniently to the city center and even further," Villem Tori, director of the Union of Estonian Automobile Enterprises, said in a letter to Simson.

The union said that this is why it would be reasonable to start and finish intercity traffic at a multimodal transport center located on the outskirts of the city.

"The prerequisite for well-functioning public transport is gathering together various transport types in centers where people would be able to pick the public transport vehicle of their liking. With the existence of efficient city transport, relocating stations servicing intercity transport in suburbs and by large highways helps decrease car and bus traffic in the city center, avoid unnecessary traffic jams at rush hour and accelerate the movement of passengers from point A to point B by various types of transport," Tori said.

Establishing a bus station at Ülemiste would help curb traffic intensity both in the city center, on Tartu Road and in the area of the current bus station, increase passenger comfort and ensure better parking facilities for public transport users, which are inadequate in the vicinity of the current bus station.

"We can see that after the completion of Rail Baltic, the joint Ülemiste terminal would become even more useful, but steps should be made already today to integrate important transport objects to Ülemiste," Tori said.

Discussion is also necessary when it comes to connecting the network of Harju County bus lines with the Ülemiste bus station. A bus station at Ülemiste servicing both long-distance and county lines should be managed by the local public transport center that has the best overview of the route network and the movement of passengers.

The union considers the establishment of a new representative bus station at Ülemiste extremely necessary. We are also expressing the wish to participate in discussions of development visions regarding the bus station and with this make our contribution based on the practical experiences of carriers toward finding possible solutions.

Founded in 1990, the Union of Estonian Automobile Enterprises is a nationwide association that brings together various companies involved in the field of transport. The union is involved in developing the transport market and establishing wider possibilities for carriers and shares necessary and operational information regarding events in the transport sector with its members.

The Tallinn Bus Station has been operating in its current location on Lastekodu Street since 1959.

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