Quality of Service
One of the best ways to visit Oslo is the tramway (Trikk in Norwegian). The tram network has only half a dozen lines and covers the central part of the town, as well as some of the most important peripheral districts. All the lines meet at the Railway Square, thus it is easy to get from one part of the city to another. As the tram lines share many stations, one does not need to wait too much. Atop each station, there are blue signs indicating the maximum waiting time at that specific station, during daytime: 5 min or 10 min. By daytime, Ruter means between 12h00 and 19h00.
The map of the tram network uses color codes and that is true for the train or the subway network, too. Typically, a tram serves about 20 stations. While the average distance between stations in the center of Oslo is relatively small, some stations are really far from each other. A good example is line 19. The stations on the Ljabru section are about 1 km apart. It is true that, in that area, the density of the population is lower, too. Also, the tram goes much faster on that section, in order to respect the time table.
Each tram station has a real-time table indicating the waiting time for each tram line that serves that station. Most of the time ( > 95% of the cases), real-time corresponds to the minute to the static time table. In some cases, the tram arrives one minute late, but that is quite rare. One of the possible explanations of such regular traffic could be the tram rail used exclusively by trams and the priority given to the tram at each road crossing. An additional display, informs passengers about the waiting time for the second trams on each line. This information is useless in the context, as people get on board the first tram. The supplementary information might be valuable in case of a first tram packed with people, such as during sports events. Most of the time, trams are half empty and there is always a free sitting place.
The tramway in Oslo has one particularity.Without any further action, the tram will never stop at the small stations, going in what could be called an “express” way. This has been the traditional way to ride aboard a bus. Ruter has just applied the stop signal concept to the next bigger vehicle, the tram. What makes it interesting is that even if the tram stops at a station, it doesn’t mean that the doors will open. Another button must be pressed, and this leads to a greater flexibility:
- first, there is less time lost during stop times. Usually, a tram has to wait 10-20 seconds for passengers to dissembark or get on board.
- next, during cold winters, there is less cold air entering the vehicle and this contributes to the comfort of the riders.
The time to destination
Another interesting piece of information is given on the static time table, printed on paper and put in every station. Here we see that the required time to go from Ljabru to Braten is 3 minutes. This is very useful information when planning to go over big distances, like from Ljabru to the Railway Square. Most of the time the information is accurate to the minute.
Quality of Services
Ruter has a Service Level Agreement with the municipality of Oslo. Just to give an example, any delay of more than 20 minutes entitles the traveler to the payment of damages. The amount of money is substantial, the equivalent of 20 times the price of a single-ride ticket. With the level of quality in public transportation that exists in Oslo, there is litle chance for the SLA damages to be paid.