The Swedish state will run the route unless an alternative is found and have invited interested parties to submit their bids before October.
“We don’t want to lose valuable time in case there is someone from the outside who wants to drive the traffic,” Minister for Infrastructure Catharina Elmsäter-Svärd told the press.
Interested bidders who want to take charge of the Gotland ferry service from 2017 have until October 28th to submit their application. If a suitable bid is not found or agreed upon, then the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket) will report to the government on December 23rd with proposals for the purchase of ships and where they should be located.
It is estimated that the state contributes around 420 million kronor to the ferry service to Gotland each year. During peak season there are 16 departures a day from mainland Sweden to Gotland with 1.4million passengers making the journey each year.
Residents on the Baltic islands took to the streets of Visby last summer to protest the hike in ticket prices to come over from the Swedish mainland, arguing that the ferries were their public transport system and needed to be subsidized.