years since my last
2004 and now in August 2009 I am on my way to Tˇrshavn again, one of my
favourite cities. As before I arrive and depart with the Faroese
flag carrier, Atlantic
Airways, flying from London Stansted direct to Vßgur. Friendly
service, free snacks and drinks and smiling stewardesses! My
on this visit is at the newly opened Hotel Streym,
where I am made very
welcome. The hotel is reasonably priced and is conveniently
situated along the seafront in Yviri viđ Strond, just a few minutes
walk from the main
Tˇrshavn bus and
ferry terminal at Farst°in.
The principal change has
opening of the 6.5 kilometers long
under sea road tunnel from Leirvik to Klaksvik in April 2006, linking
the islands of Eysturoy and Borđoy, and allowing the through operation
of the route 400 buses from the capital Tˇrshavn to the second largest
town, Klaksvik. So ferry D˙gvan no longer sails its traditional
scenic route from Leirvik, but the through bus journey now only takes
an hour and a half.
changes did I find in 2009? Some routes had changed hands between
operators of course. There were many new Volvos, and it seemed
that few of the vehicles I had seen five years ago were still
around. Many operators have buses with personalised
registrations. The Saksun route is no more, and bus services on
the southernmost island of Suđuroy have been simplified. Indeed
the ferry to Suđuroy is now worked by an even larger newer Smyril, the
fifth ship to bear the name, and introduced in October 2004 to the
important two hour crossing.
Through talking with several of the Bygdaleiđir drivers some of their
hours of work seemed long by UK standards. One driver suggested
there was no comparable legislation on drivers permitted hours in the
Faroe Islands, and that working days of 12 to 13 hours overall duration
are not uncommon. As example, on Sandoy a driver on the 600 route
told me he does the entire public service from start to finish in week
one (a fourteen hour day), then in the second week does only school
runs (a six hour day). This results in 12 consecutive days work
followed by 9 days rest to complete a three week cycle.
The main trunk route 400 from Tˇrshavn to Klaksvik is now operated by
HZ Bussar of Streymnes, with four Volvo 9700s (KH 442, UP 705, KE 401
and VS 766) providing the base service of eleven journeys each way
(five each way on Saturday and Sunday). The main service is
provided by three Klaksvik-based vehicles and one based in Tˇrshavn.
This is a busy route from
the capital to the second largest town, and it provides a range of bus
connections as under:
- at Oyrarbakki to route 200
Eiđi, route 201 to Gjˇgv, route 202 to Tj°rnuvik and route 205 to
- at Skßlabotnur to route 480
Strendur and route 481 to Oyndarfj°rđur;
- at S°ldarfj°rđur to route
Runavik and Toftir;
- at G°tudalur to route 410 to
- at Klaksvik to route 500 to
Viđareiđi and route 504 to Kunoy (also the ferry 'Sam' to Kalsoy).
A variety of different
vehicles work on the feeder routes,
full-sized, midi and mini. For example the 480, run by H°jbilar
of Strendur, was covered by Iveco Daily EU 746 or Mercedes 815
519. The 440 was being worked by Mercedes 20-seater JL 394 of J O
Langgaard of S°ldarfj°rđur, whilst the 410 had a Volvo B12 of A P
Busskoyring (Andreas Poulsen) of Syđrug°ta, registered AP
616. In Klaksvik, AP 554, a Renault Master 17-seater from
the same operator was working the 500 to Viđareiđi.
of Kvivik operates the 100 from Tˇrshavn to Vestmanna; the
101 to Kirkjub°ur and GamlarŠtt for the Sandoy ferry; and the busy 300
to the Airport and the townships on the island of Vßgur (reached by
tunnel). There is some interworking of routes, eg a 300 arriving
in Tˇrshavn from the Airport will go on as a 101 to GammlarŠtt.
This raises an interesting question though. As there do not appear to
be any spare Thomasen vehicles or drivers in Tˇrshavn, what would
happen if the inbound 300 was delayed awaiting a flight at Vßgur, given
that the 101 in turn gives connection at GammlarŠtt to Teistin on the
Sandoy ferry! Again more smart Volvo 9700s, including TF 505, JU 330,
DP 232 and LK 694.
These are just a few examples of some dozen or more sub-contractors who
provide vehicles for the Bygdaleiđir timetabled bus network on behalf
of SSL - Strandfaraskip Landsins. There are also many other
operators based throughout the islands concentrating on charters and
excursions, including also several minibuses operated by taxi firms and
providing a shuttle service to and from the airport.
Published figures for the Bygdaleiđir buses show that in 2008 566,560
passengers were conveyed overall (down from 604,525 in 2007 but almost
identical to the 2005 figure of 566,748). The highest number of
passengers recorded is unsurprisingly for route 400 (2008 =
149,874). Second busiest is route 300 serving the airport with a
2008 figure of 85,946, followed as a close third by routes 440 and 480
(joint figure 82,901). The lowest figure is for route 504 from
Klaksvik to Kunoy with just 869 passengers for the year, down by a half
from the 2006 figure of 1,647.
Some changes to the Bygdaleiđir contractors occurred from May 2013
, with the 400 Torshavn
- Klaksvik route passing from HZ Bussar to Askham Bussar of Klaksvik
(who also regained the
northernmost routes 500 and 504 they had operated in the past); whilst
both the Sandoy routes 600 and
601 passed to Handilsh˙si.