Police called in to calm bus stop tumult

Police were called to a Stockholm bus terminal on Tuesday night as tempers flared among the 1,000 hard-hit travellers trying to get home as transport problems continued to afflict many areas of Sweden.

With the metro lines closed south and west of Liljeholmen in central Stockholm, up to 1,000 passengers were obliged to squeeze into the bus terminal to queue for places on replacement buses serving the city’s suburbs.

When many of the passengers, who have suffered days of disruption and delays, were unable to find space on the buses patience ran out and guards were forced to call in the police to calm the heated atmosphere.

“We had up to five units there. There are no reports of actual fighting, but there was a lot of anger,” Ulf Lindgren at Stockholm police told news agency TT.

Shortly after 7pm calm had been restored and travellers were able to disperse on the replacement bus services.

The continued travel and transport chaos is costing the taxpayer some 150 million kronor ($20 million) per day, according to calculations by the Dagens Nyheter newspaper.

After stern criticism from the consumer ombudsman, national rail operator SJ re-introduced its travel delay guarantee at 5pm on Tuesday, meaning that compensation payments are likely to continue to grow until order is restored to Sweden’s rail and public transport links.

The government took the unusual step on Tuesday of calling in military assistance to help the National Rail Administration (Banverket) in its work to clear ice and snow from tracks and get trains running.

Swedish meteorological agency SMHI meanwhile has forecast that cold temperatures and snow are to be expected in many parts of Sweden over the weekend.

Temperatures fell to as low as -42 Celsius in northern areas on Tuesday – a new winter low. A high pressure front currently covers much of Sweden with cloudy weather in the south and clear, sunny spells in central and northern areas.

Snow is forecast for Stockholm on Friday and over the weekend with temperatures plunging again next week.

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