Hello all, so classes are over and have been for a week or two now and studying for finals has lost some appeal so I’m going to use this to our advantage and catch up on my blogging! I plan on alternating between talking about Oslo and my other travels. I’ll try to be practical in posting about Oslo so that if you decide to study abroad here (do it, it’s amazing!) or just visit the information can still be helpful..
So, Oslo has a wonderful public transportation system. Actually most European cities have some level of public transportation that far exceeds that in America, but Oslo is one of the best. Not only is very thorough with and encompasses all of metropolitan Oslo, but it is also one of the CLEANEST systems you will ever find.
The various methods of transport:
- T-bane (Metro)
So the Tunnelbane or T-bane is a system of electric trains and is the most rapid form of transportation in Oslo and probably the one you’ll use most. There are 6 lines consisting of 104 stations, 16 of which are either underground or indoors. BI university is conveniently located directly across the street from the Nydalen stop on line 4&5/6 which is one of the underground stations. Nydalen T is one of the more modern stops as you’ll see in the photo of the escalators down to the platform which doubles as an artistic display entitled “The Tunnel of Light”. The Tunnel also has music accompaniment and the theme, color, and sounds change constantly.
BI university is only 7 stops from Jernbanetorget (central station) and the trip takes 14 minutes or less depending on the time of day and route. Other notable stops downtown that are serviced by all 6 lines include:
Majorstuen – 4 stops from Nydalen – an above ground, open station located in an area with a lot of great shopping and the Colosseum movie theater
- Nationaltheatret – 5 stops from Nydalen – an underground stop in front of the Royal Palace at one end of Karl Johans gate which serves as city center providing easy access to all kinds of shopping, historical sites, city hall, and the wharf and fortress at Akershus, as well as the University of Oslo. Also, Nationaltheatret connects with the Airplane Express Train, or Flytoget,which connects Oslo to OSL Gardermoen airport in 19 minutes for a student rate of 85 kroner each way (Flytoget also travels beyond city center for another 40 minutes, but trains arrive roughly every 10 minutes).
- Stortinget – 6 stops from Nydalen – an underground station that serves as the origin of the metro with km marker 0. Stortinget is also on Karl Johans gate between Natl and Jern, and is placed right at Stortinget, or Parliament of Norway. Stortinget is also the Sentrum so it’s close to everything as well, especially the major shopping brands
- Jernbanetorget – 7 stops from Nydalen – an underground station connected both to the Flytoget as well as Oslo Bussterminalen (which you will use if you fly RyanAir). On Karl Johans gate is the most convenient station to get to places like Oslo Opera House, and is surrounded by about 6 malls including Oslo City Mall which is literally right on top of one of the exits from the underground platform
**this information on stops is if traveling eastbound towards Oslo via lines 4 or 5, it also possible to head westbound on line 6 and travel time is shorter but trains are also less frequent by a few minutes
The six lines of the T-bane are as follows:
Frognerseteren – Ellingsrudåsen, Holmenkollen station is 14 stops from Nationaltheatret (5 from Frognerseteren) and is where Holmenkollbakken ski jump is located as well as the museum, also there are great views out towards Oslo fjord.This hill is also the equivalent of Houston’s River Oaks or something like Austin’s Westlake Hills. The Royal Lodge, or Kongsseteren, is on Voksenkollen the second last stop of this line and near the peak of the hill. The further up the hill the grander and nicer the houses and the view as well, it’s worth a trip.
- Østerås – Ellingsrudåsen
- Sognsvann – Mortensrud, so Sognsvann is a lake and is also the final stop on line 3, from Nydalen you transfer from lines 4 or 5 at Ullevål Stadion stop to line 3 and take it til the end. Sognsvann is popular year round, in the winter we hosted fires in the evenings, also cross country skiing is very popular here, locals also ice fish sometimes. Once it heats up the ice melts, we’ll have daytime picnics and maybe even take a dip if we feel brave enough, think Barton Springs cold or colder. It’s a very active area, always filled with cyclists, runners, and active people in general. Also Kringsjå stop is home to Kringsjå student housing.
- Ringen – Bergkrystallen, BI Norwegian School of Business is located at Nydalen stop, as is BSN student housing. Sogn student housing is at Ullevål Stadion stop.
- Storo – Vestli, same as line 4 in regards to BI and housing.
- Bekkestua – Ringen, also connects to BI and housing.
There are 72 trams operating in Oslo also on 6 lines, with 99 stops. Trams are also handy especially when downtown.
Another option are buses, which are particularly helpful at night because they run rather through the night though less frequently than the day. Since the other forms of public transportation stop running sometime at various times after midnight the buses are handy. Also, from the Oslo Bussterminalen buses can be taken direct to Sweden and other parts of Scandinavia. And to get to either of the discount airline airports in Oslo like for RyanAir there are buses that go direct to Oslo Rygge or Oslo Torp that leave in accordance with planned flights, for example buses to Oslo Rygge leave exactly 3 hours prior to every departing flight, leaving ample time for the 50-60 minute drive and airport security.
Trains are more expensive than buses and the only Norwegian train I’ve been on is the Flytoget to OSL Gardermoen airport, and I highly recommend it over taxis which are extremely expensive.
Also, there are ferries that run in the warmer months, I have yet to take one, but they travel to the Oslo islands and the other side of the fjord from Akershus wharf downtown.
ruter.no/en is the English version of the public transportation site and I must say it’s great, if you live here I suggest making it a favorite on your web browser to easily check the traffic status and so on, also the home page allows you to plan the quickest trip with only a starting point, destination, and either a time to arrive by or a time to depart after. Very handy, in suggesting what form of transport to take.
If you visit, get the weekend pass or 48/72hr pass because it is much cheaper than several individual tickets. Or if you live here get the monthly card, the student price is like 380 kr (~$50) and well worth it. And unless you live at BSN which is within walking distance of BI building then it is pretty much a necessity. And if you’re visiting make sure to check out the discounts, they offer a lot of different ones.
Also, Scandinavia, Norway, and Oslo are all very trusting and rely on self-governance in a lot of ways. It’s very safe here, people rarely break the law, houses are left un-locked that sort of thing. In accordance with this trusting mentality, the ticket scanners are automatic and really they are just open turnstiles, you’re supposed to swipe your card/ticket each time BUT most people don’t and that is okay. However, if you attempt to ride for free be aware that they have regular “controls” where controllers will be on board to check your ticket and if you don’t have one you are immediately fined 750kr on the spot or you are billed 900 kr if you pay within 14 days. So despite the trusting leniency, always buy your ticket.
And for trips via RyanAir I recommend taking the bus to either Rygge or Torp airports, (I always used Rygge for RyanAir or Gardermoen for other flights) and if so this website will help you plan your trips from the Oslo Bussterminalen by Jernbanetorget http://www.rygge-ekspressen.no/RutetiderTimetable/tabid/120/language/en-US/Default.aspx which also has a link to Torp-ekspressen.