Unlocking a Sustainable Future: The Expansion of the Bybanen Light Rail System in Bergen
A Pragmatic Approach to Policy Implementation
In an unprecedented move showcasing a readiness for cooperation, Rune Bakervik, the Labour Party’s City Council Leader, has expressed his willingness to engage in dialogue with the Conservative Party regarding the development of the Bybanen light rail system over Bryggen. This move signifies a cross-party dialogue on significant infrastructure projects in the region, demonstrating a pragmatic approach to policy implementation.
The Bergen Light Rail System: A Brief Overview
The Bybanen, or Bergen Light Rail, is a crucial mode of public transport in Bergen, Norway. Developed in stages, the first stretch of the project, a 20-station route between the city center and Lagunen Storsenter, opened in 2010. Over the years, the system has expanded, with a line to Fyllingsdalen opening in November 2022. Future plans for the project include extensions to Åsane and Storavatnet.
The development of the Bybanen has its roots in the 1970s following the closing of the Bergen Tramway. Despite the growth in private car usage and diesel buses, the potential of a light rail line was recognized as an efficient solution to traffic congestion. The Bergen Light Rail system is owned and maintained by Hordaland County Municipality through its subsidiary, Bybanen AS, with operations governed by public service obligation contracts issued by the county public transport authority, Skyss.
The Inauguration of the Second Light Rail Line
In November 2021, Bergen’s second light rail line to Fyllingsdalen was inaugurated by Transport Minister Jon-Ivar Nygård. The 8 km Line 2 was opened with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting at the new terminus. The line is expected to be a significant boon to the city and those living along the route, providing a better transport option and promoting growth and development in the areas along the line. Ridership on Line 2 is projected to reach 40,000 passengers per day by 2040.
A Project for the Future: The New Line to Åsane
A majority of the city council voted in favor of a new line stretching 12.7 kilometers from Åsane to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Bryggen. The light rail project, estimated to cost 21 billion kroner, is set to commence construction in 2025. The line will feature 14 stops with a new tunnel spanning 5.7 kilometers and 13 kilometers of cycle paths.
This project has been a topic of discussion in Bergen for over a decade, and its future hinges on the financial contribution of the state. Next year, the government is set to unveil a new national transport plan, providing more clarity on the state’s financial commitment to the project. City Council Leader Rune Bakervik and City Council Development Leader Ingrid Nergaard Fjeldstad are scheduled to meet with Norwegian Minister for Transport, Jon-Ivar Nygård, to discuss the project further.
High Expectations for a Sustainable Future
Bakervik expressed confidence in securing funding from the government for the project, citing the government’s commitment to reducing climate emissions. The Bybanen, being the biggest project in the west, is anticipated to play a key role in this endeavor. The city council predicts that up to 60,000 passengers will use the Bybanen to Åsane by 2040, underscoring the importance and potential of this light rail system in shaping a sustainable future for Bergen.
Subscribe to BNN Breaking
Sign up for our daily newsletter covering global breaking news around the world.