Moving to Oslo?
Public Transport in Oslo
Oslo is a city small and beautiful enough that many expats may well choose to travel on foot. For those in a rush, however, Oslo has an excellent public transportation system, allowing you to explore Norway’s capital by bus, subway, tram, and even by ferry — using a car in Oslo is therefore not necessary.
The more unusual kind of transportation, the ferry, commutes between Rådhusbrygge 4 (City Hall Pier 4) and the Oslofjord islands. Island hopping is a particularly popular summer activity: most of the islands are very quickly reachable by ferry from Oslo’s piers, and services run until late at night in the summer. However, most expats may prefer the traditional modes of transportation for their commute.
Traveling Around by Bus and Tram
The public bus, tram, ferry, and metro network is operated by Ruter, spreading across the entire city of Oslo, well into its suburbs and the surrounding county of Akershus. Although there is no central bus station, Jernbanetorget station is probably the most crowded one: located next to Oslo’s main overground railway station (Sentralstasjon), it is where most lines meet.
With Oslo’s trams and buses, you can easily explore the city and travel to popular sites, such as the National Theater or Oslo Opera House. The tram, bus, and metro also service Oslo’s 15 districts, so expats living outside the city center will not struggle to get around.
Keep in mind that the public transport service is very limited at night. Fortunately for all night owls among you, there are the night bus lines which run between 01:00 and 04:00 on weekends and support the tram system. These services are commonly called Nattlinjer or Nattbusser. There is no special night fare in Oslo, and daytime fares apply. Routes 31 and 37 run 24 hours a day all year round. For more information, please refer to Ruter.
Tram, Bus, Metro, Ferry: The Same Ticket
Expats living in Oslo are free to travel however they prefer, be it via metro, tram, bus, train, or boat. Oslo’s public transportation system charges its users the same fare, regardless of which mode of transportation they choose.
Ruter’s tickets are also valid on NSB (Norwegian State Railways) in Oslo and Akershus. The only exception to this city-wide system is airport transportation, which has its own rates for the express bus to and from the airport. Public transport tickets are usually not personalized, allowing you to loan them to your family members and friends.
You can choose between tickets for single trips and period tickets or passes, such as a 30-day ticket. The cost of a single ticket for an adult traveling within one zone is 33 NOK; the ticket is valid for one hour from the time of purchase. As a rule of thumb, you pay for a maximum of four zones (or all zones) when purchasing a single ticket and a maximum of three zones when buying a period ticket, regardless of how far you travel.
If you buy a ticket on board of a train or bus, you have to pay a surcharge of 22 NOK. Children between 4 and 15 and senior citizens above the age of 67 get a significant discount of around 50%.
Oslo’s Twelve Transportation Zones
Oslo’s public transportation system includes 12 zones: eight belong to Oslo and Akershus, and the other four are a cooperation between Oslo and the neighboring counties. As mentioned above, you pay for a maximum of five zones when purchasing a single ticket, and for a maximum of three zones when buying a period ticket.
If your trip does not exceed this number of zones, you need to calculate your fare by counting the number of zones you’ll travel through, including those in which you get on and off. A single ticket does not specify in which zones you will be traveling, merely the number. The Oslo zone (zone 1) makes up the large city zone and contains the entire metro network (T-bane) within.
Safety in Oslo: Pay Attention to Property Crime
Crime rates in Oslo are relatively low compared to other major European cities. However, you should keep in mind that you are, after all, living in a big city and need to exercise a healthy amount of common sense.
Petty theft and residential burglary are as common as in any other metropolis. In fact, over 25% of all property thefts reported nationwide in 2016 happened in Oslo. However, crime is mostly centered in inner city neighborhoods and high transit areas. Oslo’s central station, for example, is a common area for pick-pocketing.
On the one hand, violent crimes are rare in Norway in general and Oslo in particular. For example, there were 25 cases of homicide in the entire country in 2016 — five of them took place in the Oslo police district; On the other hand, violent crime in Oslo (e.g. cases of bodily harm) has increased in 2016 and receives a lot of media coverage. The number of reported sexual offences has also been increasing over the past decade.
Another safety issue was raised in 2011, in the form of terrorist attacks by a Norwegian right-wing extremist, where 77 people — 32 of them teenagers — were killed. Moreover, like other countries in the Schengen Area, Norway’s (mostly) open borders may also allow terrorists and extremists from outside to enter the country. However, Norway has recently not been targeted by Islamist terrorists, unlike other European countries, such as France and the UK. While you should be alert, there is no reason to be alarmed. The government does its best to assure the safety of every resident in Oslo.
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