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When I have taken long-distance buses in northern Sweden or northern Norway, I have frequently gotten off the bus at arbitrary spots along the route, by talking to the bus driver, often far from any official timetabled stop. Soon I will head to Iceland. I will be taking bus 51 (Reykjavík-Mjódd to Höfn), and the place I would like to get off is between Jökulsárlón and Höfn. Can I expect that the bus driver will be willing to let me off at the exact indicated spot (assuming he can stop safely)? The alternative would be to walk/taxi/hitch-hike back 20-25 km along the ring road.

  • 1
    Long distance buses in Iceland just sounds weird.... – Karlson Sep 12 '15 at 15:27
  • This was not possible with the Reykavik Excursions buses, which are somewhat targeted at tourists (like us) but run a regular schedule with stops en route. I had the feeling Straeto, which runs your bus, is more utilized by Icelanders; I suggest you simply inquire through their web site. s.straeto.is – Andrew Lazarus Sep 12 '15 at 17:11
  • @Karlson Why does that sound weird? – gerrit Sep 13 '15 at 10:10
  • @gerrit Fairly small island... – Karlson Sep 13 '15 at 13:46
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    @Karlson From Bolungarvík in the northwest to Höfn in the southeast is 911 km. From Keflavík in the southwest to Egilsstaðir in the northeast is 693 km. The bus I'll take, Reykjavík-Höfn, is “only” 458 km, or 7 hours by bus. I don't find it weird to call that long-distance, in contrast to city buses. I avoided the word “intercity” because there's only one town one might call a city outside the Reykjavík area (Akureyi, 388 km from Reykjavík, less than 18,000 inhabitants). – gerrit Sep 13 '15 at 13:56
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Parts of the Strætó web site (the bus line operator) is unfortunately only in Icelandic. Here they write:

Vinsamlegast biddu vagnstjóra aldrei um að stöðva vagninn annarsstaðar en á biðstöð. Það getur haft í för með sér mikla slysahættu, bæði fyrir farþega og aðra í umferðinni.

Roughly translated to English:

Please never ask the bus driver to stop the bus at other places than the designated bus stops. It can be the cause of many accidents, both for the passengers and for other road users.

  • 2
    All may not be lost, though, because perhaps there is a designated stop that does not appear on the time table. This often happens with local buses in other places: there are many bus stops along the route, but only a few of them appear in the time table. – Nate Eldredge Sep 12 '15 at 20:01
  • @Tor-EinarJarnbjo Considering that there's only a single scheduled bus stop for 200 km between Kirkjubæjarklaustur and Höfn, and traffic is probably light late September, I wonder if bus drivers in south-east Iceland apply this rule in practice. Would you know if they do? – gerrit Sep 13 '15 at 10:29
  • @NateEldredge Do you know how to find those stops in south-eastern Iceland? – gerrit Sep 13 '15 at 10:30
  • @gerrit It is slightly annoying and difficult to answer your questions in the comments if you keep deleting your comments and replace them with other questions. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Sep 13 '15 at 10:32
  • @Tor-EinarJarnbjo I deleted a comment where I made a claim that I was unable to back up. The remaining question belongs to the primary question asked. – gerrit Sep 13 '15 at 10:36
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I am back from my journey, which included Strætó bus 51 from Reykjavík-Mjódd to Höfn i Hornafirði, with a change of buses and drivers in Vík.

On three occassions (two between Reykjavík and Vík, and one between Vík and Höfn i Hornafirði), a passenger or group of passengers requested to get off the bus at an intersection or farm that did not have an official bus stop. In each of these cases, the bus driver did not make a fuss and stopped at the requested stop, where someone was waiting by car to pick up the passenger, suggesting this is quite normal. At each of those stops, the bus could stop safely without blocking traffic (which was well below one car per minute in any case).

It looks like the Strætó rule that Tor-Einar Jarnbjo quotes is not enforced in practice in rural areas of Iceland, where scheduled bus stops may be 100 km apart.

  • From Reykjavik to Vik is southwestern Iceland. I am not surprised. I think the no-stopping practice we encountered this summer was for tourist buses, while the Straeto bus is also transportation for Icelanders. That traffic of less than one car per minute is for the main highway. We bicycled hours cross-country with perhaps 4 cars/hour and no paracetamol in sight. – Andrew Lazarus Sep 28 '15 at 18:40
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    @AndrewLazarus Reykavík is southwest, Vík is south-central, Höfn is southeast. It is correct that I am talking about the ring road. It gets even more quiet along the east coast north of Höfn, but there is no Stræto bus operating there (and between Djúpivogur and Breiðdalsvík, no buses outside summer at all). I'd speculate some mountain roads get less than ten cars per year (and never any bus). I agree that I am not surprised that it is possible it practice. I am somewhat surprised that Stræto write on their website that it is not allowed. – gerrit Sep 28 '15 at 23:53

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