Municipal Bus To Introduce Touch-Free System

Reykjavík city bus.

Strætó, the Reykjavík area public transit company, aims to at last introduce a touch-free payment system. Jóhannes Svavar Rúnarsson, the managing director of Strætó, says that the new system should be in place within the next two or three weeks.

Klappið app

Currently, payments for the city bus are done primarily through three methods: cash, the phone app Klapp or the printed bus card of the same name. The latter two use a QR code and scanner to process payments.

The initial launch of the app was not without its hiccups, and Jóhannes hopes that the new system will be easier for all involved, especially tourists.

“We’re pressing ahead diligently to get [the new system] done before the tourist season,” he told RÚV. “This is obviously comfortable for everyone, and simple for foreign tourists to pay fares on the bus.”

Testing before launch

Jóhannes says that they have been working with a supplier who is to provide Strætó with the touch-free system, meaning that passengers will be able to pay for fares with debit cards or the phones, through the use of Google Wallet and similar apps, much like one would pay for anything else in a shop.

“There are still a few things that need to be tweaked in order for this to be completely safe or work properly,” he said, adding that their supplier told them they should be able to start testing this new system within the next two or three weeks.

Wine, Gas, and Swimming Pool Prices Rise

Laugardalslaug geothermal swimming pool in Reykjavík

With the new year, changes to public price structures all over Iceland come into effect. Municipalities have upped the fees for some of the services they offer, while the 2024 budget, recently approved by Alþingi, heralds new taxes and adjustments to the existing ones.

Tax rates on alcohol and tobacco go up by 3.5 percent, Morgunblaðið reports. As does the licensing fee for public broadcasting and the tax on gasoline. The litre will cost an extra ISK 4.20 [$0.03, €0.03], while the litre of diesel goes up by ISK 3.70 [$0.03, €0.02]. The vehicle tax on lighter automobiles rises by 30 percent as well, while owners of electric cars will need to pay a new fee per kilometre, which for the average driver will amount to ISK 90,000 [$666, €599] per year.

Trash and tickets pricier

Municipalities have also announced higher prices for trash collection, as a new system for sorting refuse is being implemented in the capital area. The biggest increase is in Reykjavík, where the price for two bins goes from ISK 52,600 [$389, €350] to ISK 73,500 [$544, €489]. The highest fee remains in the more affluent neighbouring municipality of Seltjarnarnes and amounts to ISK 75,000 [$555, €499].

In Reykjavík, the prices for trips to the swimming pool, museum tickets and petting zoo admissions have also gone up. A single adult ticket to a public pool goes up by 6 percent and will now cost ISK 1,330 [$10, €9]. Yearly tickets go up by 5.5 percent, while prices for towel and swimming trunk rentals also rise. A hike in bus fare prices has also been announced. They will rise by an average of 11 percent.

Bus Fares to Rise by 11 Percent

public transportation iceland

Strætó, the public transport company which operates city buses in the Reykjavík capital region, has announced a new price structure. The change comes into effect on January 8 and bus fares will rise by 11 percent on average, Viðskiptablaðið reports.

A single fare will now cost ISK 630 [$4.60, €4.20], up from ISK 570 [$4.20, €3.80]. Strætó last raised its prices in September of 2022, when a single fare cost ISK 490 [$3.60, €3.30], citing higher fuel prices. This amounts to a 29 percent hike in the 16 month period.

No price changes outside of the capital area

The decision was made by the Strætó board, according to a press release, and ratified by the ownership committee, representatives of the six capital area municipalities who own the company. They are Reykjavík, Kópavogur, Hafnarfjörður, Garðabær, Mosfellsbær and Seltjarnarnes.

“The operational status of Strætó was considered before making the decision, as the accumulative effects of the Covid pandemic can still be felt,” the press release said. “The higher prices also help alleviate higher operating costs for Strætó and increased payroll costs and reduce the need to cut back on Strætó services in the capital area.”

The new price structure only applies to Strætó’s capital area routes and no changes have been made to the prices for routes outside of the capital area.

Bus Ticket Prices Rise in July

Strætó bus Reykjavík miðborgin umferð fólk

Strætó public bus service is raising single fares by 3.6% and the price of passes by 3.3% as of July 1. The change means a single fare will go from ISK 550 [$4.06, €3.70] to ISK 570 [$4.21, $3.84] and a 30-day student/senior pass will go from ISK 4,500 [$33.24, $30.30] to ISK 4,650 [$34.35, €31.31].

The board of Strætó approved the fare hike at a meeting on May 19. Strætó reviews fares twice a year, and also increased fares following its last review in October 2022. A notice from the organisation points out that the consumer price index has increased by 5.2% since that time.

“The aim of the tariff policy was and is to ensure that the tariffs go hand in hand with Strætó’s operating costs,” the notice states. These costs include salaries, oil, maintenance, repairs, and spare parts. There will be no change to fares for disabled patrons.

At the same time, the Road and Coastal Administration is raising public bus fares in the countryside, meaning that a trip from Reykjavík to Akureyri will go up from ISK 10,780 [$79.63, €72.58] to ISK 12,540 [$92.64, €84.43], and a trip from Reykjavík to Keflavík will go up from ISK 1,960 [$14.48, €13.20] to ISK 2,280 [$16.85, €15.35].

Strætó is also transitioning its payment systems by phasing out the Strætó app and fully transitioning to the Klapp app on July 1.