Local government and business officials were braced for traffic chaos on Monday, after a bus strike that began in Oslo expanded nationwide. Passengers found other ways of getting around, however, with no strike settlement in sight.
A total of 8,500 bus drivers are now on strike in all but two counties of Norway. Bus commuters have turned to bicycling, walking and driving, with state broadcaster NRK reporting how one woman in Trøndelag with four children attending three different schools is now driving around 100 kilometers a day, shuttling them around. The strike has also taken their school bus out of service.
There still hadn’t been any contact between the striking bus drivers and employers’ organization NHO Transport as of Monday evening. The unions can still call another 3,500 drivers out, and there was rumbling on Monday that the strike could also spread to the Bybanen tram service in Bergen.
Annette Holt Øyås in Sunnfjord was among those riding her bicycle several kilometers to school Monday morning. The 14-year-old said she could understand, though, why the bus drivers were striking for higher pay after falling behind those driving trams in the cities and other industrial workers. NHO Transport claims its private bus companies can’t afford paying our long-promised raises during the Corona crisis, when revenues are lower than they were last year at this time.