Government pumps money into Gotland boats

Sweden’s government has said it will spend 100 million kronor on the ferry line between Stockholm and the Baltic Sea island of Gotland, to prevent the need for increased ticket prices and cuts in the number of sailings.

Increased oil prices have forced the state-funded ferry service to expand beyond its budget limits and it now faces a shortfall of 100 million kronor, which will now be covered by the government in two installments of 50 million per year.

“We now won’t have to cut 200 crossings from the timetable nor introduce the drastic ticket price rises we would have been forced to if we hadn’t found further funding”, said Ulrica Messing, Minister of Transport Infrastructure.

Messing stressed that this was extra money, and was not being taken from other areas of public transport.

The ferry traffic to Gotland makes up for a third of Sweden’s national public transport budget and the extra 50 million kronor per year is equivalent of nine airplane routes, which will be discussed next year. Messing said it was “important that the rest of Sweden’s public transport does not suffer from the increased costs of running the ferry service to Gotland”.

A final decision will be made on Thursday regarding next year’s fees and timetables.

Jenny Lepley/TT