FěROYAR 2017 - 2021

The Faroe Islands again

 

 
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This is a site of historical record and does not contain current service information.


Hendan sÝ­an vÝsur gamlar tÝ­arŠtlanir og ikki tŠr i­ eru galdandi n˙.        Denne side viser gamle k°replaner og ikke de aktuelle tider.










Although in 2017 it was eight years since I had visited the Faroe Islands myself it was possible to give some updates to the transport scene there thanks to two correspondents Malc McDonald and Renno Hokwerda who travelled there in summer 2017 and recorded some notes and observations. The inter-island ferries and interurban buses are operated by a publicly owned company SSL, the buses using the Bygdalei­ir fleet name. In the capital and other municipalities around the islands the local routes are operated under the Busslei­in name (in Tˇrshavn, Klaksvik, Sunda and Eystur).

Bygdalei­ir

Strandfaraskip Landsins (SSL) had no noteworthy changes in 2017. Renno observed that a big share of the users were tourists, and his impression was that in the winter months it must be a hugely ineffective - but good quality - service. The Su­uroy ferry from Tˇrshavn now sails three trips every day, with connecting bus services. However there are no connecting buses provided on route 300 from the airport for the new SAS flights (which compete with the Faroese flag carrier Atlantic Airways).

2017 was centennial anniversary year and Renno attended the 100 year anniversary of SSL in Tv°royri. The director was asked about how the 11 kilometre road tunnel under construction from Tˇrshavn to Eysturoy will change the system in the future but the response was that there was still plenty of time left to figure that out before the target completion date of 2020.


SSl emblem
Other activities on the anniversary day included a panel discussion about ferry timetables to outposts, a historic lecture about ferries, debates about ferries, photos of ferries, statistics about ferries, ferries, ferries ferries ...

The Faroese minister of transport (a Su­uroy man) had just announced an official exploration study for a tunnel from Sandoy to Su­uroy, via Sk˙voy. I sense that this tunnel is only a matter of time rather than money. The minister was asked if the Su­uroy ferry would reroute to Sandoy, at least temporarily, after the 10 kilometre Sandoyartunnilin opens from Streymoy in 2023. Sandur to Hvalba would be a much shorter trip which could allow higher frequencies. He immediately said no, not worth the investment (two new terminals), a difficult route (currents), and more trips aren't necessary since only the morning trip to Tˇrshavn and evening trip to Su­uroy are well used. But mostly he liked how the beauty of a ship like Smyril manoeuvring past the prime minister's office thrice-daily to remind Tˇrshavn of Su­uroy's existence  ...

Suduroy ferry Smyril

Renno noted the night bus running from Tˇrshavn to Vßgar on Saturday/Sunday night. It's a 1970 Volvo with wooden seats and floors that are made to withstand the sometimes unfortunate consequences of late night drinking. It departs towards the city at 10 p.m. and returns from the city at 5:00 Sunday morning. A ticket costs 100 kr.

More prosaically Malc noted that route 101 (Tˇrshavn ľ GamlarŠtt for the Sandoy ferry) appeared to have become a self-contained operation and no longer interworked with the 300 as previously.  An SOR vehicle registered MF221 was operating the 101 every time he saw it.  During the summer of 2019 the island of Sandoy was to become the first in the country to use eco-friendly buses that run on sustainable green energy.

New contracts  In May 2020 Strandfaraskip Landsins (SSL) retendered the Bygdalei­ir bus network in five contract packages, with many new vehicles taking up service. Overall about forty buses are needed, eight for Streymoy, eleven for Eysturoy, nine for the southern islands and eleven for the northern islands. One contract was gained by IR Lastbilar (proprietor Rasmus Rasmussen of Kollafjor­ur) for routes 100-Vestmanna, 101-GamlarŠtt for the Sandoy ferry and 300-Vßgur and airport. They use Neoplan Tourliners for much of this work, most of which carry RB registrations. Landlei­in of Klaksvik hold the second contract and operate trunk route 400-Tˇrshavn - Klaksvik, also 410-Fuglafjor­ur and 500-Vi­are­i. For their main routes Iveco Magesys are employed. Askham Bussar of Hvannasund lost this work in the northern islands that they had previously operated. A third contract was awarded to Poulsen Bussar of Toftir for the local lines on Eysturoy (including 440-Skßlafjar­arlei­in) and the local routes based on Oyrarbakki such as 200-Ei­i and 202-Tjornuvik. MAN Lion buses are used by Poulsen, some with a very appropriate series of registrations BUSS. In pratice the Oyrarbakki routes appear to be operated by HK Bussar of nearby Hvalvik.

The other two contracts cover bus operation on the southern islands of Sandoy and Su­uroy. On Sandoy routes 600 and 601, operated by Handilsh˙si­, link the ferry port of Skopun to Sandur, Skßlavik and Dalur. This requires two buses. On the southernmost island of Su­uroy route 700 links the southern villages of the island to Vßgur and Tv°royri whilst route 701 provides similar links for the northern villages. Both routes serve the ferry port at Drelnes to coincide with the several daily sailings of Smyril to and from the capital Tˇrshavn (a voyage of two hours). This means early starts and late finishes most days of the week for the seven buses of operator Su­uroyar Bygdalei­ir of Sumba. The headquarters of the national transport authority Strandfaraskip Landsins (SSL) was relocated from Tˇrshavn to Tv°royri on Su­uroy some fourteen years ago in 2007.

Eysturoy Tunnel  On 19th December 2020 the new undersea toll tunnel northwards from Tˇrshavn was opened to traffic. Eleven kilometres in length, the Eysturoy Tunnel links Hvitanes (just north of the capital) to Strendur and Runavik. It incorporates the first roundabout in an undersea road tunnel too. Bus 400 from Tˇrshavn to Klaksvik now uses the new tunnel rather than the previous lengthy route around Sundalagi­ through Kollafj°r­ur and Oyrarbakki. With the Leirvik to Klaksvik road tunnel that was opened in 2006 the bus running time between the two termini of Tˇrshavn and Klaksvik is now only 65 miutes instead of 90. The new routing also provides much improved journeys between Skßlafj°r­ur communities like Runavik and the capital. New circular route 450 now provides the bus link from Tˇrshavn to Oyrabakki for connections from there to Ei­i, Gjˇgv and Tj°rnuvÝk. Operation of the 450 is shared between IR Lastbilar and Landlei­in, with some runs on via the new Eysturoy tunnel, others via the 'old' route through Kollafj°r­ur.

However operating experience has shown that the route revisions introduced when the Eysturoy tunnel opened last December have not proved optimal. From 30th April 2021 trunk route 400 from Tˇrshavn to Klaksvik reverts to its original longer route around Sundalagi­, with two peak hour express journeys (numbered 401) from Klaksvik to the capital still running through the tunnel. Other journeys through the tunnel will be numbered 450 Tunnilslei­in and will operate a triangular route between Tˇrshavn and the Skßlafj°r­ur communities of Strendur, Runavik and Toftir.

MF221 waits at Gamlaraett for the Sandoy ferry
An SOR bus in the blue livery of  Bygdalei­ir
(photo by Malc McDonald)
Gamlaraett ferry terminal July 2017 route 101



Busslei­in

In 2017, their 38th year of operation, the Tˇrshavn Busslei­in network continued as usual. They were considering a new network design for when the access highway around HoyvÝk for the Eysturoy Tunnel will have opened, according to the plan, in 2020. The new bridge to Argir constructed in 2014 already offers opportunities for improvements, and so does the new big monumental school being built at the western ring road for 2018 opening. Malc noted that on Busslei­in route 4 he saw Volvo B8R/8900, registered GA403, a couple of times - and that was the only vehicle he saw on the 4.

With three years of operation now accrued the Klaksvik town route 1 is a real success and much used. However routes 2 (minibus) and 3 to Nor­oyri and ┴rnafj°r­ur seem to get hardly any passengers.

The Eysturlei­in route between Sy­rag°ta and LeirvÝk is used principally by schoolchildren. The bus system in Sunda municipality is successful, according to the newspapers, with 450 users in the first four months.

The Tˇrshavn Busslei­in network was substantially revised in April 2019, also reintroducing all day and evening operations seven days a week - further information here.

In December 2019 an agreement was signed between the Tˇrshavn municipality and Gundurs Bussar for them to operate all of the city bus routes from 1st April 2020 until 1st January 2022.  Their depot is in SlŠttanesgˇta, on the south western outskirts of Tˇrshavn.  PVR is sixteen buses on weekdays.  Proprietor Gundur Johanneson received a badge of honour from the Tˇrshavn municipality for proving a respectable and good bus service last year.

Klaksvik Busslei­in Volvo on route 1
(photo by Malc McDonald)
Klaksvik route 1 Volvo



Strandfer­slan Celebrates 100th Birthday

In May 2017 one hundred years had passed since the government bought the first ship named Smiril from the Mortensen family who operated it on the long Tˇrshavn to Su­uroy route. This was the start of Strandfer­slan - or Strandfaraskip Landsins as we know it today. Other ferry routes were taken over as years passed.  Celebrations were held in Drelnes on 19th May attended by the transport minister.

Strandfaraskip Landsins (SSL) is the nationally owned transport company of the Faroes, providing transport to all corners of the Faroe Islands. Since 2007 the head office has been in Tv°royri.  SSL runs six ferries: Smyril, Teistin, Sam, Ternan, Ritan and Sildberin. The ships are named after birds, the frst four are car ferries, the others passenger ferries.  SSL also oversees the Bygdalei­ir bus routes, which were progressively acquired from private operators as the road network developed in the 1960s and 1970s. Their operation today is sub-contracted to several different Faroese bus companies.
SSL 100 years

Volvo GA403 leaves Tˇrshavn on route 4
(photo by Malc McDonald)
Torshavn route 4

Klaksvik minibus operated by Askham
(photo by Malc McDonald)
Klaksvik minibus July 2017

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This is a link to the Tˇrshavn Kommuna website for the current Busslei­in timetables

This is a link to the earlier 2009 update page

This is a link to Busslei­in information for the period 1992 - 2003

This is a link to Bygdalei­ir information for the period 1992 - 2003

This is a link to the SSL website for the current Bygdalei­ir timetables

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