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Some operators ignoring bus ban in downtown Reykjavík

By Staff

  • Guidelines Buses are only supposed to drive down Njarðargata that runs up to Hallgrímskirkja church, according to city guidelines. Photo/Vísir.

Local tour operator Reykjavík Excursions says it will not heed Reykjavík city council's guidelines bus travel in the downtown area "just yet". The company's CEO claims it's too complicated to change the buses' routes immediately.

An expanded ban on bus traffic in downtown Reykjavík took effect on Saturday July the 15th. It stipulates that buses and large four wheel drive vehicles can only use certain streets and that passengers should be picked up and dropped off at twelve designated drop-off spots. Guidelines issued at the same time direct operators to only drive some streets on the edge of the ban zone in certain directions.

Keep driving up a street they only drive down
Nevertheless, Reykjavík Excursions' double-decker buses that operate under the Hop-on, Hop Off franchise have continued to drive routes they are no longer allowed.

According to the National Broadcasting Service RÚV, its buses still drive up Njarðargata street, near Hallgrímskirkja church, despite guidelines from the city that buses should only drive down the street.

Other buses carrying tourists run by the company have also been seen driving the same route, defying the city's guidelines.

Have already sold tours in advance of the ban
Kristján Daníelsson, Reykjavík Excursions' CEO, told RÚV that the company will not comply with the ban right away.

He claims it takes time to update the routes as tours had already been sold well in advance of the ban being mulled. He also makes reference to the fact that the buses are operated under an international franchise.

Bus, downtown Reykjavík, Tourists

Ban area The city council says 80% of guests at hotels in downtown Reykjavík are within 200 meters from a designated drop-off spot. Graphic/Vísir.

The city council decided on the ban in March and notified tour operators. Nonetheless, Kristján says that it will take Reykjavík Excursions about a month to change its routes, putting them in line with the city authorities' wishes.

City hopes operators will comply
The metropolitan police is charged with enforcing the ban. The transport director for Reykjavík city council says that buses entering the ban zone can be fined. It is however not a finable offense to defy the cities guidelines on the buses' travels on the streets on the perimeter of the zone.

He says he hopes that operators will comply with them nonetheless.

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