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Free public transport scheme has ended


  • The free public transport scheme for Stavanger residents ended 31 December 2023.
  • Deadline for refunds for express ferry tickets is 7 January 2024.
  • We encourage you to continue to travel by public transport, the Stavanger region has cheaper public transport tickets than other Norwegian cities.
  • Evaluation of and research into this scheme will continue until the end of the new year 2024.

Information in other languages

How to get tickets from now on?

There is no reason to stop travelling by public transport. Prices for period tickets in this region compare well to other big cities.

Check out the different ticket types that Kolumbus offers, and what they include. Buy tickets where you usually buy them:

Kolumbus, tickets for buses, ferries and express ferries in Rogaland

Entur, public transport tickets locally and nationally

GoAhead, Jærbanen and other train tickets

About the free public transport scheme

From 3 July to 31 December 2023, Stavanger municipality paid for public transport ticket in the Nord-Jæren zone for Stavanger residents.

The scheme was a collaboration between Stavanger municipality and Rogaland county's public transport company Kolumbus, and worked like this:

  • Residents registered in a public transport register set up by the municipality to check their data against the population register.
  • They then booked tickets on their personal “Min Side” on the municipality's website.
  • Tickets were automatically sent to the Kolumbus ticket app on the resident’s phone.

Residents who could not use digital tickets used travel cards. They could book tickets online or get help over the counter, either in Kolumbus' customer service or in the municipality's service centre.

Over 95 per cent of the free ticket holders used the digital solution.

For technical reasons, residents who travelled by express ferries between Stavanger and the Ryfylke islands in the municipality had to pay for their tickets and get a refund through a reimbursement scheme.

Reimbursement of express ferry tickets

If you travelled by express ferries to, from and between the Ryfylke islands in Stavanger municipality, you still had to buy tickets, for technical reasons. However, you can get ticket expenses refunded for journeys that took place up to and including 31 December.

  • Ordinary 30-day tickets and HjemJobbHjem purchased after 1 December will not be refunded.
  • Single tickets purchased after 31 December will also not be refunded.
  • Tickets for personal journeys and HjemJobbHjem tickets with the express boat will be reimbursed. The scheme does not apply to vehicles and goods.

Please note: The deadline for submitting the reimbursement form is 7 January 2024.

The refund form can be found here (in Norwegian). Processing time is 14 days.

Political decisions on free public transport

May 2023: The municipal council adopted to introduce free public transport for residents as of 3 July of the same year, with a financial limit of up to NOK 200 million. The decision came as part of the council's processing of the annual report and accounts for 2022.

See related case documents, in Norwegian only.

November 2023: The city council decided to end the scheme by 31 December, and to redirect remaining funds to the municipality's climate and environmental fund, which supports several different climate and environmental initiatives. The decision was part of the city council's processing of the quarterly financial report.

See related case documents, in Norwegian only.

In the period between the decision to introduce free public transport for residents and the decision to discontinue the scheme, municipal elections took place. The ruling coalition that originally introduced the scheme, Ap, MDG, Sp, SV, Folkets parti and Rødt, was replaced by a new majority – Høyre, FrP, KrF and Venstre – who then discontinued it.

Facts and figures

The final figures will be presented as soon as they are available, during the first two weeks of January.

Preliminary estimates, as of 28 December, are:

Number of tickets
By the end of the year and the end of the scheme, the municipality will have bought around 630,000 tickets of various types and duration for residents.

Distribution of different ticket types throughout the period (3 July - 31 December):

  • 30-day tickets: approx. 29%
  • Youth tickets (30 days): approx. 4%
  • 7-day tickets: approx. 12%
  • 24-hour tickets: approx. 32%
  • Single tickets: approx. 23%

Preliminary ticket costs

  • The municipality's total ticket costs for the entire period will land at around NOK 140 million.
  • In addition, almost NOK 1.7 million will go towards reimbursing express ferry tickets.

The exact final costs are still unknown, and Stavanger municipality is negotiating with Rogaland county municipality to settle on a final payment that reflects the actual costs of the scheme for Kolumbus.

Initially, up to NOK 200 million was earmarked for the free ticket scheme. The surplus funds will now be redirected to the municipality's climate and environmental fund, supporting a range of climate and environmental initiatives.

Research and evaluation

Stavanger municipality is collaborating with Kolumbus and Rogaland county municipality to evaluate free public transport scheme for residents of Stavanger.

The Institute of Transport Economics (TØI) conducted a study commissioned by Kolumbus. It concludes that the use of public transport in Stavanger has increased as a result of the introduction of free public transport for the city's residents. The effect of the scheme on car and bicycle usage is somewhat more uncertain.

The report Evaluation of free public transport

Using the UngLab method, with Sopra Steria as a process consultant, youths have interviewed other youths to gain insights into the significance of free public transportation for young people. You will find the results here when they are ready.

To obtain a broader understanding of perspectives on the scheme before its discontinuation, professionals from the municipality traveled by bus, train, and boat, to interview users of public transportation.

In early 2024, we will analyze the impact of the initiative on different segments of the population. The effects of the scheme on traffic development and passenger statistics will also be examined more closely.

We will make data and insights available for research purposes.

Contact information