Friday, 30 May 2014

Malmö, Sweden

The city of Malmö is the third largest in Sweden, with a population of around 300,000 people.  It is located in Sweden's southernmost county, Skåne.  Skåne is also sometimes called by its traditional name, Scania.  The commercial vehicle manufacturer which carries this name was founded in Malmö.

Public transport in Malmö is co-ordinated by Skånetrafiken, which is responsible for the public transport system across Skåne county.

A core network of high-frequency routes numbered 1 to 8 form the backbone of Malmö's bus network.  These services run at least every 10 minutes on weekdays.

Buses operating the urban network wear a common green livery although they are provided by at least two companies, Veolia and Nobina, under contract to Skånetrafiken.

Many of the vehicles used on these services were articulated, with three doors.  All those I saw were gas-powered.

Although Malmö was the birthplace of the Scania vehicle manufacturer, none of the buses I noted on the city's urban bus network were built by Scania.  Most were built by Volvo, with a small number from German manufacturer MAN.

As well as articulated vehicles, a number of standard single-deckers were operating.  These, too, were invariably gas-powered and had three doors.

The core high-frequency routes are complemented by five further bus routes, numbered from 31 to 35.  These operate at lower frequencies, generally every 15, 20 or 30 minutes.

As with the core high-frequency routes, these services were operating with a mix of standard and articulated gas-powered buses.

A network of bus services runs into Malmö from the surrounding Skåne county.  Buses wear a yellow livery.  All the vehicles I saw had two doors and three axles.




Amongst the assortment of buses built by other manufacturers, I did find an example of a Scania bus operating an interurban service.

A couple of longer-distance services are branded as SkåneExpressen.

I found coach-specification vehicles in use on these services.

Flygbussarna provides a dedicated coach service links Malmö with its airport, 30 km from the city centre.  This service is not part of the Skånetrafiken network.

Like many cities in the western world, Malmö closed its tram system.  Malmö's last tram ran in 1973.  A museum tram (website in Swedish only) runs through Slottsparken, a park close to the centre of Malmö, linking the city's technical museum with its library.  Notably, the heritage line was purpose-built over a route which had not formed part of Malmö's original tram system.

The museum tram operates only during weekend afternoons from the end of May to the beginning of October.  I visited Malmö outside the tram operating season.

This image (left), taken at the terminus by the city library, illustrates the minimal infrastructure provided.

In the image below, Malmö's "Turning Torso" building looms over the tram line.

There may be no trams, and there is also no metro system.  However there is continued investment in Malmö's transport system.

In 2010, the Citytunnel opened.  This suburban rail tunnel passes beneath the city centre.  The tunnel is used by domestic services, and by Öresundståg services which use the Øresund Link bridge and tunnel linking Sewden with Denmark.  Three trains per hour link Malmö with Copenhagen, with the journey taking around half an hour.

The next development is occurring on the bus network.  With growing patronage on its public transport system, the city is investing in bus rapid transit.  A fleet of bi-articulated, gas-powered hybrid buses is due to enter service on 1st June 2014 on route 5.  Route 5 will be extended from the central railway station into the regenerated docklands, and will be branded Malmöexpressen from this date.

As well as new buses, route 5 will benefit from extensive bus priority measures.  Outside the city centre, bus lanes are being installed along the centre of the road.  Infrastructure work was ongoing in May 2014 when I visited Malmö.

Bus stops along these bus lanes are being provided on "islands".

Traffic calming measures are being installed too, along with crossings to help pedestrians reach the bus stops safely from the pavement.

At some stops, the crossings are being provided with traffic lights as a further measure to help pedestrians.

In this image, an articulated bus on route 5 passes new infrastructure under construction.

The Malmöexpressen website in Swedish only gives more information about the bus rapid transit project.

Fares and ticketing

A common tariff applies across Skånetrafiken bus and rail services county.  Fares are based on a zonal system.  Most of Malmö lies within a single zone, although some outlying suburbs are across the boundary in a neighbouring zone.  Single fare tickets are valid for 3 hours, interchange is permitted.  24-hour and 72-hour tickets allowing unlimited travel within Malmö and adjacent zones, or across the entire Skåne county, are also available

Tickets cannot be bought for cash on board buses or trains.  Tickets can be bought in advance from railway stations and a number of retail outlets.  A mobile phone ticketing app is also available, while the "Jojo" smartcard is another alternative.  On the yellow interurban buses, tickets can be bought on board using a debit or credit card, however this facility is not available on the green urban buses.

Further information is available on Skånetrafiken's website.

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