Strætó Bus Service Transitions Fully to KLAPP App

Public bus in Reykjavík

Strætó, the Reykjavík capital area public bus service, will close its old app on July 1 and fully transition to the Klapp app. The Klapp app currently lacks the ability to purchase bus tickets to rural areas, which can only be bought with cash or credit cards on board the buses

Full transition to KLAPP

As noted in a recent announcement, Strætó – the Reykjavík capital area public bus service – has decided to close the old Strætó app, effective July 1. The so-called Klapp app will take over completely.

The announcement highlights that the Klapp app now encompasses all functions concerning the bus network and tickets for the capital area, along with additional features. Additionally, the majority of riders have already transitioned to the new app due to its enhanced capabilities.

However, the Klapp app lacks the option to purchase bus tickets for rural areas, which can only be obtained through cash or credit card payment on the buses – a method preferred by the majority of passengers, as stated by Strætó.

According to the announcement, ticket sales through the Klapp app constituted just 3% of total fares sold in rural areas. The Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration (IRCA), responsible for the rural bus system, is presently exploring the possibility of introducing additional payment options for rural customers.

Travellers can access rural fare prices through the “planner” section of the Klapp app and on straeto.is. Both the Klapp app and straeto.is offer trip planning, real-time coach monitoring, and price information for both the capital area and rural locations.

No Whaling This Summer: Minister Halts Fin Whale Hunting

Iceland whaling Hvalur hf

Svandís Svavarsdóttir, the Minister of Food, Agriculture, and Fisheries, has decided to temporarily halt the hunting of fin whales until August 31. The decision follows on the heels of a report authored by a council of specialists on animal welfare, which found that fishing methods do not comply with the Act on Animal Welfare.

Two reports, one conclusion

As noted in a press release published on the government’s website today, the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST) authored a report on the welfare of whales during hunting, which was received by the ministry in May 2023. The report found that the killing of whales took too long based on the main objectives of the Act on Animal Welfare.

MAST subsequently commissioned a council on animal welfare specialists to assess whether whaling could meet the objectives of the Act on Animal Welfare. The council’s opinion was received by the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Fisheries yesterday, June 19. The report concluded that the fishing method used when hunting large whales did not comply with the Act on Animal Welfare.

Given this finding, the Minister has decided to postpone the start of the whaling season, a day before whaling was set to begin, so that there is room to investigate whether it is possible to ensure that the hunting is carried out in accordance with the provisions of the Act on Animal Welfare.

“I have made the decision to temporarily stop whaling in light of the unequivocal opinion of the council of animal welfare specialists,” the Minister is quoted as saying. “The conditions of the Act on Animal Welfare are inescapable in my mind: if the government and licence holders cannot guarantee welfare requirements, this activity does not have a future.”

This article will be updated.

Homicide Rate in Iceland Not Increasing, Criminologist Explains

Despite the number of homicide cases exceeding the annual average over the past four years, the murder rate in Iceland – if viewed within a broader context – has decreased per capita. A criminologist has noted that public perception is often influenced by availability bias.

Availability bias plays a role

With the murder of a man in Hafnarfjörður last weekend, a total of four homicide cases are being investigated by three police stations throughout Iceland. Seven people have died in homicide cases over the past two years.

Although it may be tempting to conclude that homicides in Iceland are on the rise, a criminologist explained to RÚV that murders have decreased per capita.

“So far this year, there have been three homicide cases. There were four people who died last year in three homicide cases. The year before that there were two deaths and in 2020 there were three. If we are only looking at this short period, there are an inordinate number of homicides,” Margrét Valdimarsdóttir, associate professor of sociology who holds a PhD in criminology, told RÚV yesterday.

Margrét noted, however, that if the overall picture is considered, the murder rate is declining. A total of 25 homicide cases occurred between 2012 and 2023 – compared to 28 between 1999 and 2011.

“If we were to look at the last thirty years, there have been two murders on average per year. Since 1990, the population of Iceland has increased by 100,000, and a greater number of tourists visit Iceland every year compared to 20 to 30 years ago. Given this, the number of homicides per capita has actually decreased,” Margrét explained.

Gesturing towards the phenomenon of availability bias (i.e. the human tendency to rely on information that comes readily to mind when evaluating situations or making decisions), Margrét noted that public sentiment was often at the mercy of readily available information:

“I think that feeling is understandable. We are seeing a lot of media coverage on every case. And when there are so many cases in quick succession, it is natural that we feel as if there is a general change happening in society – that we somehow live in a more dangerous society,” she stated.

Grímur Grímsson, Chief Superintendent of the Icelandic Police’s central investigative department, struck a similar note during an interview with RÚV earlier this week: “Historically, Iceland has experienced an average of 1.7 to 1.8 homicide cases per year. Sometimes these incidents cluster together, followed by periods of relative calm. Hence, we do not attribute any particular meaning to this pattern at present.”

Cristiano Ronaldo: “Iceland Have a Very Good Team”

Football

The men’s national football team of Portugal trained at the Laugardalsvöllur stadium last night, in preparation for tonight’s game against Iceland in the UEFA Euro 2024 qualifying tournament. Cristiano Ronaldo, who expects “a tough match,” will play his 200th international match tomorrow.

Major milestone for Cristiano Ronaldo

Following a disappointing 1-2 loss against Slovakia on Saturday, Iceland’s men’s national football team currently sits fifth in Group J of the EUFA Euro 2024 qualifying tournament. The winners and runners-up from the ten groups will qualify directly to the final tournament, which will take place in Germany next summer (the other three qualifiers will come from play-offs based on last year’s Nations League: a total of 24 teams will compete in the finals).

Tonight, Iceland will face off against group leaders Portugal, who have won all of their three matches in the qualifiers. In preparation for the game yesterday, Cristiano Ronaldo fielded questions from the media at a press conference. He told reporters that he expected a tough game. “They [Iceland] have a very good team, in my opinion. They have a strong team. And, you know, when they play at home, it’s always tough to beat teams with their support, their fans, their stadium.”

Nonetheless, the Portuguese observed that he had full faith in his team: “I believe in our team. I believe in our players. We know what we should do on the pitch to score goals, and I hope that things go the way we want. I know it’s tough, I repeat. But I think Portugal, we should show that we have a better team than them.

As noted by RÚV, Ronaldo played his first international match on August 20, 2003, in a 1-0 victory over Kazakhstan. He was 18 years old. Tomorrow, some 20 years later, Ronaldo will make his 200th international appearance – a feat that no male footballer has achieved before – when Portugal faces off against Iceland at the Laugardalsvöllur stadium.

Swapping jerseys

The Icelandic national team last competed against Portugal at the 2016 European Championship when the teams drew 1-1. The game marked Iceland’s first match at a major tournament. As noted by RÚV, Aron Einar Gunnarsson, Iceland’s captain, attempted to swap jerseys with Ronaldo after the game – but was rebuffed. At yesterday’s press conference, Aron was asked if he intended to make another go at it tonight.

“I think I’ll let it go,” Aaron said with a grin. “It’ll be his 200th international appearance so he’ll probably want to keep his jersey. So I think I’ll let it be this time.”