Students hit by new Skyss fares

FOTO: JONAS J. EIAN

STUDENTS AND SKYSS. Hundreds of students in Bergen use the Bybanen to access the center on weekends.

Late night Bybanen fares increased over 33 percent in February, leaving students upset and searching for alternatives.

Since February 1st, the prices of Skyss operated transportation have increased, especially the late night Bybanen on Friday and Saturday nights. Taking the Bybanen after 1:00 am on weekends now costs 80 NOK. The fare increase affects many international students who live outside the city center, especially the hundreds who reside at Fantoft.

While Skyss’ website claimed that fare increases averaged six per cent, the late-night Bybanen’s fare, already 60 NOK, increased five times more than the average, rising to 80 NOK.

Students oppose the increase

– The increased prices are an attack on the economically weaker segments of the society, which includes students. It hits especially hard all the students who do not live in the city center, which generally is the case for almost all the international students, says Eirik Lie Reikerås (DERA), a member of the Student Parliament (SP-UiB).

– It’s really bad for the internationalisation in Bergen, especially after the closing of Club Fantoft, adds Reikerås, referring the SiB’s stated goal of attempting to integrate international students in the Norwegian society.

International students have also voiced their concerns.

– I am irritated that first they ran an advertisement campaign prior to the fare increase in which they stated, «we appreciate your opinion», complains Kareen Vieweg, an international student from Germany who is also a resident at Fantoft.

– I don’t believe that people’s opinion was to increase prices, Vieweg adds.

Skyss says increase is required

Skyss claims that the price increase is normal and needed for financial reasons.

– An adjustment of the prices was necessary due to lower revenue than expected and an overall increase in expenses, claims Ingrid Dreyer, Communications Advisor at Skyss.

– Night fares are priced higher than all other fares because the costs associated with operating buses at night on weekends are higher than during the rest of the week, explains Dreyer.

The decision to increase the fares, however, doesn’t come from Skyss itself. Fylkestinget (the Hordaland County Council) decided to increase the ticket fares in December, as part of the annual budget.

– We hope that the politicians will come to their senses and make the public transportation cheaper, says Reikerås.

Students look forward to alternatives

Fantoft residents refuse to stop going out on Friday and Saturday nights and have begun considering other transportation options instead.

– You can take a taxi and it’s cheaper and faster, claims Christophe Louis Balin, a French graduate student, who has been living in Fantoft for more than two years. He likes going to the city center on weekends during his free time.

SP-UiB is already planning on increasing transportation alternatives for students.

– We are going to try to make SiB establish a transport alternative for the inhabitants of Fantoft at night, at least on weekends. We think SiB owes this to the international students. We hope to present this idea at the next meeting in Velferdstinget (The students Welfare Committee), Reikerås tells Studvest.