Skip to main content
EU Urban Mobility Observatory
News article11 March 20242 min read

The evolution of 24/7 public transport in Tallinn

Tallinn's journey towards establishing a 24/7 public transport service marks a significant milestone in the city's transportation history.

Before the introduction of night lines, Tallinn struggled with a lack of nocturnal public transport options, relying primarily on privately owned ride-hailing and car-sharing services. Despite sporadic provisions on occasions like New Year's Eve, a regular night-time service was absent from the city's public transport network. Whilst daytime routes were devised using travel demand data on movements between registered residences, workplaces, and other key destinations, the advent of night-time public transport warrants a different approach, as the main drivers of demand are cultural consumption and social interaction.

In 2023, the Tallinn Transport Department initiated a pilot project aimed at addressing this gap. The project meticulously planned transport routes based on travel demand data, recognising the unique needs of night-time commuters driven by cultural engagements and social interactions. 

The pilot project, spanning from 15 May to 15 September 2023, introduced four lines, mirroring the geometric layout of existing high-usage daytime routes. Servicing densely populated urban areas such as Mustamäe, Lasnamäe, Põhja-Tallinn, and Haabersti, these initial lines laid the foundation for Tallinn's nocturnal public transport system. Notably, night buses commenced their routes from Balti Jaam, the central multimodal transport hub, providing service on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights from 00:30 to 05:00.

Safety considerations were vital throughout the pilot project, with preemptive measures implemented in collaboration with a security company to ensure passenger well-being. Despite initial apprehensions, the project showcased a commendable commitment to passenger safety, with no reported incidents and a notably vibrant atmosphere aboard the night buses.

User surveys conducted during the pilot project revealed crucial insights into passenger demographics, motivations and preferences. Notable findings included the predominant use of night transport for social and homeward-bound purposes, with a significant proportion of users motivated by the city's free public transport policy implemented in 2012. Additionally, the survey highlighted passengers' satisfaction with routes and safety measures, alongside suggestions for route expansions and increased departure frequencies. These findings informed subsequent adaptations, including route modifications and optimised service hours, to better cater to user needs and enhance overall satisfaction. 

As of 1 January 2024, the night lines transitioned from a pilot project to a permanent fixture of Tallinn's public transport system. Expanded coverage across all eight districts of the city reflects a commitment to inclusivity and accessibility. Future endeavours will continue to prioritise data-driven approaches to ensure efficient and equitable public transport for all residents and visitors.

The evolution of Tallinn's 24/7 public transport system stands as a testament to the power of strategic planning and stakeholder collaboration. By leveraging insights from data analytics and prioritising community feedback, the city has laid the groundwork for a more accessible and dynamic urban transportation network.



Publication date
11 March 2024
  • Collective passenger transport
  • Monitoring and evaluation
  • Estonia