Wednesday 30 May 2018

Göteborg (Gothenburg), Sweden

Göteborg, or Gothenburg as it is called in the English language, is Sweden's second-largest city.  It is home to more than half a million people.  I paid a brief visit to Göteborg one Saturday in September 2017.

Public transport in Göteborg and the surrounding region is coordinated by Västtraffik.  There is no metro system, reportedly because ground conditions would make tunnelling expensive.  There are some commuter rail services, but the backbone of Göteborg's public transport network is its tram system.


The tram system is extensive, with twelve routes.  They are numbered from 1 to 11 and 13.  All but two of these converge on a single junction at Brunnsparken, in the city centre.  The lines are colour-coded, with the colour being shown on the route number display at the front of the tram.

The newest trams in the fleet are fully low-floor.


These operate alongside other, older trams.

Trams built in the 1980s and early 1990s have been lengthened with a low-floor section added in the middle.


The oldest trams in front-line service date from the 1960s and early 1970s.  I saw a considerable number of them in service.

They were operating in pairs, but do not offer step-free access.

Fifty-year-old trams might be viewed as "vintage" in their own right.  However, there is a vintage tram which operates between Göteborg's central railway station and an amusement park at Liseberg, passing through Brunnsparken.

The vintage tram line, numbered 12, does not form part of the Västtraffik network.  Nevertheless, Västtraffik tickets are accepted on line 12.

The vintage trams generally operate on Saturdays, from the end of April through to the end of December, with a daily service in July and the beginning of August.  They operate in conjunction with Göteborg's tram museum.

More information about the vintage tram service is available on the Ringlinjen website (in Swedish language only); for the timetable and dates of operation, click here.

Urban buses

Göteborg's tram system is complemented by bus services.  A number of bus routes operate into and through the city centre.

Many of the buses I saw were articulated, with three sets of doors.  The livery for Göteborg's buses is bright blue.

The articulated vehicles are not the largest buses to operate in Göteborg.

A fleet of bi-articulated vehicles operates on route 16, which crosses the city centre.

Unlike other buses in Göteborg, these carry a blue-and-white livery.


I also noticed some standard single-deck buses operating on a couple of routes.  These buses have three sets of doors.

As well as standard two-axle vehicles, I saw some longer buses with three axles.



I mentioned earlier that Göteborg does not have a metro system.  What it does have, complementing the three-line commuter rail system, is a network of express bus routes.  These do not use conventional route numbers, instead being referred to by a colour.

All of the express buses I saw were three-axle single-deckers.  Some were displaying their route colour in the route/destination display...


...but others were not.

Although some of the buses on the express network had three sets of doors, this one (right) had two.

One of the routes is named Svart Express (black express).

Unsurprisingly, no route colour is visible on the route/destination display.


Göteborg's bus fleet uses a variety of technologies.  As well as diesel, there are gas-powered and hybrid buses.  Göteborg is also trialling electric buses.  However, the electric vehicles are used on a service which only operates on Mondays to Fridays.  As my visit to Göteborg was on a Saturday, I didn't see the electric buses operating.


The urban public transport system also includes ferry services, which operate along and across the Göta älv river.


Out-of-town buses

Longer-distance routes heading out of Göteborg into the surrounding region.

These carry the same blue livery as Göteborg's city buses.

The network includes some express routes.  These are named after the location they serve, rather than a colour.

On some of the routes serving the surrounding region, I noted double-deck coaches were operating.

The out-of-town services operate from a bus station located adjacent to Göteborg's central railway station.


Västtraffik fares

A zonal fare structure applies across the Västtraffik system.  Göteborg comprises a single zone.  Single-journey tickets are available, which are valid for 90 minutes.  These permit interchange.  There are also 24-hour and 72-hour tickets allowing unlimited travel for their period of validity.  An adult aged over 20 can take up to three people under 20 with them for free.

To the airport

A dedicated express bus links Göteborg's centre with the airport.

These are operated under the Flygbussarna brand common to a number of Swedish cities.


For tourists

Tours of Göteborg are provided on street and on water.

Double-deck buses operate a sightseeing tour of the city.  The tour is provided by Stromma.

The buses have retractable roofs, so that in good weather they can operate as open-top.

From the end of March until the end of October, the tour operates as a hop-on, hop-off service.  During the low season, the buses operate two fixed tours per day.

Stromma also run the "Paddan" sightseeing boats, which explore Göteborg using its network of canals.


During the peak summer season, a hop-on, hop-off service is operated.

My visit was out of season, so I am presuming that this vessel was not actually running the hop-on, hop-off service it was advertising.





There is also a road train operated by Stinsen Sightseeing, which runs during the summer season.  I visited Göteborg in late September, and did not see the road train.

On two wheels

Finally, Göteborg has a cycle hire scheme which operates as Styr & Ställ.  There are around 60 cycle docking stations in Göteborg city centre.