Does Iceland Have Uber?

Hopp car share Reykjavík

Uber has not arrived in Iceland yet. However, there is a new, similar company called Hopp Taxis. The company is known as an electric scooter rental but recently introduced their car-sharing service and Hopp Taxis. You can download the Hopp app on both Apple and Android free of charge, and there is no subscription fee. It works like Uber; you can see the car’s location, arrival time, and price before confirming the ride, and the payment is made through the app. The drivers are all licensed taxi drivers and drive carbon-neutral or electric cars. Currently, Hopp Taxi operates in Reykjavík and its closest suburbs, such as Kópavogur, Garðabær, Hafnarfjörður, and Mosfellsbær, as well as Keflavík airport.

Taking the taxi in Reykjavík

Another option is to take a regular taxi. Taxi companies, such as Hreyfill and BSR, offer apps you can download to order a cab and monitor its location. The taxis have a much wider service area. Unlike Hopp Taxis, you will know the price once you have arrived at your destination, and the payment goes directly through the taxi driver, not the app. Note that taking taxis to and from Keflavík International can be expensive. An average taxi trip from the capital region to the airport may run from ISK 15,000 – 20,000 [$110-146, €100-134], so budget-minded travellers may find the Fly Bus a more economical option.

Iceland’s bus system

Iceland’s bus system, Strætó, is a great, economical transportation choice. You can plan your trip and see more comprehensive route maps on their website. To pay the fare, buy a ticket through the app Klappið or pay the exact amount in cash on the bus. About half of the buses in the capital area run from 6:30 AM to midnight, but some services may start later and end earlier. A night bus on Friday and Saturday nights runs from downtown Reykjavík to some of its surrounding suburbs. Note that the night route only runs from Reykjavík, not towards it.

Mud, Sweat, and Gears

motorsports iceland

The motorsport Formula Offroad began in Iceland in the 1960s. The history of the sport is traced to rescue teams, who in an effort to generate additional funding for their chapters, began showcasing their 4×4 trucks navigating challenging Icelandic terrain. And what started as a demonstration evolved into a competitive endeavour among teams, with custom-built […]

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Record Ring Road Traffic

The latest numbers from the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration show that July 2023 was a record-breaking month. According to IRCA, never before has there been more traffic on Route 1 in a single month.

July 2023 proved to be about seven per cent higher than July 2022. Year-on-year increases can be seen across the board, with 16 key figures being measured by IRCA. On average, nearly 125 thousand vehicles were recorded across Route 1 daily.

vegagerðin route 1
Daily average combined traffic. IRCA.

The largest increase was noted in and around the capital area. IRCA speculates that the increase is likely due to comparatively lower figures in the area compared to the season last year.

However, traffic in North and East Iceland decreased, compared to the same month last year, by 1.9% and 4.5% respectively.

 

ring road iceland
Sum of daily average traffic, in thousands. IRCA.

 

Total traffic has increased on all weekdays, with the most significant increase on Mondays, around 12.1%, and the least on Sundays, around 5.1%.

Friday was shown to be the busiest day, and Sunday the least.

IRCA expects the current increase to hold for the remainder of 2023. If this forecast holds, this would set a new annual traffic record on Route 1.

 

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Icelandic Roads Least Lethal Worldwide

Route 1 Iceland

German car subscription service, FINN, has recently rated Iceland the number 1 nation “where you are least likely to die on the road.”

The survey included OECD member states and considered such factors as road deaths per 100,000, overall road quality, speed limits, traffic volume and levels, and percentages of alcohol-related road deaths.

Iceland came in first place for “least likely to die on the road,” with only 2.05 road death per 100,000. Peer nation Norway came in second place, at 2.12, followed by Switzerland in third, with 2.25.

The survey stated: “Despite poor weather conditions and many unpaved roads, Icelandic drivers are some of the least likely in the world to face fatalities on the road. Iceland is a hub for tourism, consequently, many popular roads around the golden circle and Reykjavik are tarmacked and well-maintained compared to the sparsely populated centre of the country which is connected by a network of gravel roads.”

Notably, this category was distinct from “safest roads,” which took more factors into account, such as those mentioned above. The Netherlands placed first in the category, followed by Norway, and a third-place tie between Sweden and Estonia. Iceland was rated 8th for overall road safety.

Argentina had the honour of taking first place for “most dangerous roads,” whereas Saudia Arabia placed first for “countries where you are most likely to die on the road.”

New Car Sales Rise Despite High Interest Rates, Inflation

driving in reykjavík

The sale of new cars rose during the month of May when compared to sales during the same month last year, RÚV reports. This increase is even more pronounced among individual buyers. A total of 695 new cars were purchased in May, compared to 511 last year: an increase of over 36%.

Up by nearly 15%

As noted in an article on the website of the Icelandic Federation for Motor Trades and Repairs (i.e. Bílgreinasmbandið, an association of employers in the sale of vehicles, products, and services) in early of May, sales of new vehicles in April increased by 16.1% compared to April of last year; a total of 1,629 new were registered compared to 1,403 last year. “Overall, after the first four months of the year, sales of newly registered vehicles have increased by 11%. This year, 5,129 new passenger cars have been sold compared to 4,621 new passenger cars last year,” the articles notes.

This trend has continued in May. Although high interest rates and inflation have a significant impact on those buying vehicles on credit, this is not yet reflected in the figures for car sales in the month of May, María Jóna Magnúsdóttir, Managing Director of the Icelandic Federation for Motor Trades and Repairs, stated in an interview with RÚV.

As noted by RÚV, sales of new cars rose in May, compared to the same month last year, increasing by over 36%. Electric cars account for the most significant part of the increase. “There is a considerable increase, especially among individual buyers. The main reason for that is that in May of last year, the supply of electric cars was small; electric vehicles form a large share of the vehicles sold to individuals this May. Last year there were about 278 electric vehicles sold to individuals, compared to about 500 in May of this year,” María Jóna observed.

Tesla may skew the statistics

Electric cars are by far the most popular type of vehicle, accounting for nearly 40% of all cars sold, with electric, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid cars being 75% of the total of new cars sold. RÚV notes that Toyotas are the most popular of new cars followed by Teslas. As Tesla often delivers more vehicles at once, compared to other manufacturers, this may serve to skew the statistics. “Tesla has become big in the individual market, and when they’re delivering such a number of vehicles at short intervals, it affects the market, which means that it’s good to review the figures over a longer period for more accurate data.”

Starting to have an impact

Car rentals purchase a significant number of vehicles at this time of year. Sales to individual buyers, however, are noteworthy – especially in light of the current conditions, i.e. high inflation and high interest rates. “If we examine the numbers over the whole year, new car sales to individuals are up by about 3.6%.”

When asked if the figures in May had begun to reflect higher interest rates and borrowing fees, María responded thusly: “No, maybe not at this exact moment, but, of course, it’s beginning to have an impact; when car loans are almost in the double digits, it begins to affect buyers who are financing with loans,” María Jóna observed.

In a recent interview on Bankrate, Sarah Foster, senior US economy reporter, explained the effect of inflation on auto loan rates, noting the goal of higher interest rates in layman’s terms: “Higher borrowing costs don’t just disincentivize spending but squeeze people out of being able to afford big-ticket items, causing the economy to slow … the hope is that eventually, those higher rates will crush demand so much that inflation eventually drops.”

Dazed Woman in Nauthólsvík Linked to Submerged Vehicle

Nauthólsvík

Yesterday morning, the police received a tip about a woman wandering the Nauthólsvík geothermal beach in Reykjavík. A few hours later, the police were notified of a vehicle that had gone into the waters in the Skerjafjörður neighbourhood of Reykjavík. It was only after divers examined the vehicle – taking note of signs indicating that the driver had escaped from the car – that they connected the dots. The woman, despite being “extremely cold,”  is believed to have suffered only minor injuries.

Disoriented and extremely cold

Yesterday morning, just after 7 AM, the capital area police received a report about a woman wandering along the Nauthólsvík geothermal beach in Reykjavík. The police struggled to communicate with the woman, as she appeared disoriented and extremely cold. A decision was eventually made to take her to the hospital.

A few hours later, at around 11 AM, the police received another report about a car that had been driven into the sea near Skerjafjörður, Reykjavík (approximately a twenty-minute walk from Nauthólsvík). Divers from the fire department conducted a search in the waters, but no one was found. Upon further inspection of the vehicle, the divers concluded that the driver had likely exited the vehicle.

It was only after discovering the submerged vehicle, and the indications of the driver’s escape, that the police connected the dots; the woman wandering Nauthólsvík, they concluded, had driven the car – a rental belonging to Avis, which was likely totalled – into the sea in Skerjafjörður.

Deputy Superintendent Ásmundur Rúnar Gylfason told reporters that things had gone “as well as possible,” given the circumstances. “The case will take its normal course. The driver’s condition will be investigated, a blood sample will be taken for analysis, and so on and so forth.” It is worth noting that the car entered the sea on a pedestrian-cum-bike path, not a road. The woman is believed to have suffered only minor injuries.

New Fast Charge Station Can Power a Car for 100 Km in Under Five Minutes

driving in reykjavík

The most powerful electric vehicle fast-charge station went into use in Iceland on Friday, RÚV reports. It only takes five minutes for the station to charge a vehicle for 100 kilometres [62 mi].

The charging station has been installed in the parking lot of the Bílabúð Benna car dealership at Krók­háls 9 in Grafarholt og Úlfarsárdalur in the eastern suburbs of Reykjavík. It can deliver up to 350 kW of electricity. According to dealership owner Benedikt Eyjólfsson, this is even more powerful than the EV charging stations that Tesla is installing, which provide up to 250 kW. The stations installed by Icelandic power company ON Power reach a max of 150 kW.

“It can take under five minutes for 100 kilometres,” said Benedikt, “and if the car can take such a powerful charge, you could get up to 250 kilometres in 10 minutes.” The station will be open to anyone who has a vehicle with the so-called ‘Euro connector’ (Type 2) for fast charge stations. The first person to charge their electric car at the station was Minister of Industry and Innovation Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir, who commented that the country’s transition away from from fossil fuels in transportation is well underway. In fact, she says, Iceland has made more progress in transitioning away from fossil fuels than almost any country in the world.

See Also: Renewable Energy 11.4% of Fuel in Road Transport in 2020

“The energy transition in transportation is going well, we’re now number two in the world, after the Norwegians, and we’ve been encouraging and supporting infrastructure development.” Þórdís Kolbrún says that this infrastructure, i.e. additional charging stations, has been “sorely needed” so that “there won’t be this range anxiety and people can travel between places and out in the countryside.”

“We also know that there are often bottlenecks,” Þórdís Kolbrún continued, “and we have to be careful that at places where there are many [EV charging stations], that people can charge both quickly and well. We’re trying to achieve this combination by pushing things forward with grants, but of course it’s just the general market that’s really doing it,” she concluded.

ICE-SAR Hard at Work Freeing Stranded Vehicles During Friday Blizzard

Cars trapped on the road

As many as 80 Search and Rescue members were called out to help people in weather-related difficulties on Friday, mbl.is reports.

Yellow and Orange weather advisories were in effect throughout the country on Friday, with hurricane-strength winds and blizzard conditions making driving particularly dangerous.

Unsurprisingly, then, one of ICE-SAR’s primary tasks that day was to help drivers dig out their cars after becoming stuck in snowdrifts or sliding off of icy roads. Around twenty Search and Rescue volunteers went to work on the Eyjafjörður fjord in North Iceland, where multiple cars had gotten stuck, but there were also call-outs around towns in East Iceland, South Iceland, and around the capital area.

First Icelandic Aluminium Car Up and Running

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1553080036886{margin-bottom: 0px !important;}”]The first Icelandic aluminium car, named Ísar, is now in running order. The car is lighter than other car models and is built almost entirely out of Icelandic aluminium. More units will me manufactured in the near future, as five copies have already been sold along with a high-interest level from a number of parties.

The Ísar car is the first super jeep in Iceland to be registered for driving on public streets. The Ísar team made the car in a Hafnarfjörður garage and are currently applying the final touches to the vehicle.

“We now have a running prototype of the first specially designed aluminium car in Iceland. The cost is only a fraction of what people would think it is. We’ve now gone on a couple of trips, private trips with investors, and it works,” said Ísar director Ari Arnórsson.

The car is 2.5 metres (8.2 feet) wide and 5.7m (18.7ft) long with seating for up to 20 people. The car weighs in at only just under 3 tonnes, however. Interest is high in this kind of vehicle, which is both sturdy and ergonomic. “We’ve had a lot of interest, both domestically and abroad. We’ve had a lot of inquiries from abroad about when the final product will be ready. Hopefully as soon as possible,” said operating manager Guðmundur Höskuldsson.

The Ísar car is specifically designed to have a minimal impact on nature. The first prototype of the car used biogas from local household waste.

Ísar’s Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/%C3%8Dsar-269834869850761/

Ísar’s website – http://www.isar.is/[/vc_column_text][mk_image src=”https://www.icelandreview.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/sar-2.jpg”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Robber Targeted Dacia Dusters

Dacia Duster

A man currently in custody for a number of break-ins targeting Dacia Duster models is suspected of targeting the vehicles because they are common among rental car companies. The thief likely counted on finding valuables in travellers’ luggage, RÚV reports.

Over 100 car break-ins were reported in Reykjavík since October, but none since the man was taken into custody. Police used video surveillance footage to identify the accused.

Police say it is clear the man was not working alone, and collaborators were receiving and purchasing the stolen goods he acquired. The police must decide by tomorrow whether to release the man from custody or extend his warrant.

The suspect has previously stolen goods such as cameras, camera equipment, drones, laptops, jackets and glasses.The case is exceptional: car break-ins are generally uncommon in Iceland.