Ex-minister under fire for big taxi bill

Ex-minister under fire for big taxi bill
A former minister has come under fire for spending 77,000 kronor ($11,800) on taxis in just nine months, mostly for 160 kilometre trips between his home and the airport.

Social Democrat former Finance Market Minister Sven-Erik Österberg’s taxpayer-funded taxi bill came in more than 23,000 kronor higher than the next highest spending member of parliament, according to figures compiled for Sveriges Radio.

Österberg took taxis from his home in Färna, Västmanland, to Arlanda airport at a cost of around 1,900 kronor per journey. A train from Färna to Stockholm Central takes 2 hours, 20 minutes. Like all MPs, Österberg has a free annual train pass.

The former minister excused his high travel expenses by saying that his frequent flying made taking taxis essential.

“People who never travel naturally think it’s exclusive and exciting to fly, but when it’s a part of a job and you do it very frequently you see it in a different way. It’s part of the job, and that’s always hard to explain to the man on the street,” he told SR.