Friday 30 May 2014

Malmö, Sweden

Updated 31st May 2019

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.  This post reflects what I found on two visits to Malmö, in May 2014 and September 2017.

In the city

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.

In 2014, buses operating the urban network were wearing a common green livery although they were 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.

Returning to Malmö in 2017, a number of things were different.

New vehicles had been delivered, but still none from Scania.

This one is from Polish manufacturer Solaris.  The route and destination display comprises just three characters.

Others were built by Mercedes-Benz.  These were wearing a brighter shade of green.

The Mercedes vehicles comprised articulated buses...





... and standard single-deckers.






The biggest change, however, was that route 5 had been converted to bus rapid transit (BRT), using bi-articulated vehicles.  The buses are gas-powered hybrids from Belgian manufacturer Van Hool.


My visit to Malmö in 2014 was a few weeks before the BRT system was brought into service.  The following images, taken before the system was launched, show some of the extensive bus priority measures which have been provided.

Outside the city centre, bus lanes were being installed along the centre of the road

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

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

At some stops, the crossings were 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.


This 2017 image illustrates the real-time departure screen and information display at a BRT stop.

The image was taken on a Sunday morning, when the service was operating at a 15-minute frequency.

The Malmöexpressen website in Swedish only gives more information about Malmö's bus rapid transit project.

Into the surrounding region

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.

In 2014, I found coach-specification vehicles in use on these services.

Returning in 2017, I found double-deck coaches were now in use.



Rail services

There may be no trams, and there is also no metro system.  However, the MalmöExpressen is not the only recent 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.

Fares and ticketing

A common tariff applies across Skånetrafiken bus and rail services throughout Skåne.  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.

Other transport 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.

Longer-distance domestic and international coach services operate from a stop near Malmö's central railway station.



At the time of my visit in 2017, the coach services were being provided by at least three companies - Flixbus, Nettbus and Swebus.

Swebus has since been absorbed by Flixbus.

Malmö has its own urban cycle hire scheme, Malmö by Bike.

Bikes can be hired from docking stations using a Jojo public transport smartcard as well as with a Malmö by Bike cars or by registering for a personal ID and PIN.


The heritage tram, and rails in the street
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 are also rails in the street near Malmö's central railway station.

These, however, are nothing to do with trams, instead enabling trains to access the city's docks.


For tourists

Boat tours operate on Malmö's waterways.  The departure point is in front of the central railway station. 

The boat tour is now complemented by a bus tour, but this was not operating when I visited Malmö.

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