Drottninggatan, Boden.
Drottninggatan pedestrianized street. Gilla means "to like".

My expectations regarding bus transit were not very high by my first visit in 2004. I had mostly bargained for a walk around town. I got off the bus from Luleå by the station in Boden, believing that was the most centrally located spot. As soon as a city bus passed, I said to myself: there it was. Little did I know that it was just one of 11 or 12 needed for the system! The downtown was in fact situated about a kilometer to the west from the station, with highrises and shopping galore. Buses too.

Bodenbuss 11, Medborgarplatsen.
Bus 11, route 2 by Medborgarplatsen.

Boden did not even have any local services until a private operation started this in the 1970:s. The undertaker in 2004 was Veolia (then Connex, former Linjebuss). A curiosity was that each bus had a different route number depending on the direction: 1/11, 2/22, 3/33, 5/55, if i remember it right. Halfhourly services with 3 buses for every line, except 5/55 that may have had only two. I'll put a questionmark by that figure.

Bodenbuss 3, inside.
Interior of bus 3. The outside can be seen under Vehicles.

Well, I visitited again in May 2011. This time the services had homogenous route numbers, while nearby Piteå had adopted the practice of different numbers depending on direction! The frequency had also petered out in Boden, so only hourly departures were maintained. A more fundamental decrease in transit is hardly matched by this anywhere in the nation. From 11-12 buses circling around town, down to only 3 daytime, and 5 in the peak. Sad indeed.

Bodträsket in Boden.
Bodträsket and Prästholmen.

The official figures for ridership points at more than 1.000 a day, while my impression is hardly a tenth of that. But I can see no reason why the statistics should be doctored. After all I have been to Boden only twice. I still do think that you, as well as me, will be a well known presence for the bus drivers before one single day will have passed...

How did Boden came about?

Kungsgatan in Boden.
Kungsgatan at dusk.

Boden is foremostly known as an extremely well defended garrison town. It is however considered obsolete to keep most of these infantry bases this far inland. It is the coastline that is todays first, and soon only, line of defence for Sweden. The army hasn't left Boden entirely yet, as those old habits and investments will not die that easily. But one of the old forts around town is now preserved as a museum. Except that one, more of them appear to be blasted into the bedrock at the hilltops surrounding the city. Though they are barely visible, until you look harder.

How to get to Boden

Busslink 3720 in Boden.
3720-28, Medborgarplatsen. This is a regional bus service connecting with Luleå.

Boden is not far away from Luleå, and doubtless a part of the metropolitan area. Some 30.000 people call Boden their home, and the complete region around Luleå holds close to 200.000. Bus services between Luleå and Boden are rather frequent, so a visit should be part of the itinerary if you stay in Luleå a few days or more.

Snowmobile route. A popular means of transportation in Norrbotten.

Luleå in turn is well connected with Stockholm, by Scandinavian arilines domestic flights. As much as 12-15 departures a day makes sure that you will find a flight fitting to your travelling schedule. Going all the way from southern Sweden by road is not recommended, as it is far. The only reason would be if you have plenty of time, and intend to include more from the string of cities along the coast. In that case, the distance between each is very convenient to cover in one day, and leave time to disover a city too. Coastal buses are available above Sundsvall, where the trains mostly deviate inland to less inhabited areas, and don't run very often either.

Boden from Sävastklinten.
Sävastklinten, with Boden downtown at a distance.

As Boden is at the outskirts of greater Luleå, I think it is best to get accomodation in the larger city, unless you are really interested in getting to now Boden thoroughly. A daytrip should othervise be more than enough.

Layout of Boden

Bodån in Boden.
Bodån seen from Garnisonsgatan.

The highly developed areas will entirely be found downtown. Something that is rather unusual for most Swedish cities. Some outer districts has certainly a vicinal feel about them, if not even deserted. The population density is thin in much of the land that the bus services are catering for. I find it more likely that the long distances is the main reason for this farflung route network. The city is scattered indeed.

Sävastån, Boden.
Sävastån, bridge by Kläppen.

Sävast is more like a suburb in the southerly direction of Luleå, and is also partly transversed by the buses coming and going that way. Vittjärv to the norhtwest is hardly more than a village, while Heden and Trångfors to the west are a little bigger. Svartbjörnsbyn, Erikslund and Svartbyn are more or less a continuation of the central parts of town.

Linjebuss 588, vid Citronvägen, Boden.
588-1, Citronvägen.

Boden bus services

Linjebuss 2716-22, Boden.
2716-22, Medborgarplatsen (citizen plaza).

There is a perfectly detailed map in PDF-fomrat covering the bus routes in Boden city. Boden local routes. This file is supposed to open in a new browser window. It is a rather slow business to move around the map, due to the high resolution. If it is preferable to view a faster version, just check out the simple subway style map at the same site. It is available in the links section below, under local transit. Alas, it may not stay there, as any location on the internet is notoriously fast changing. If so, just click the link for Boden city (that should be more stable), and navigate to the transit section.

Boden bus tickets

Norrbottens länstrafik. Bus pole by Svartbygården, Boden.

Tickets can be purchased by cash from the driver, and also by using Norrbotten state transit passes. Even as the vehicles carry a different livery from that of the state transit company, it is still possible to use the same tickets. Though only as a means of payment of the local tickets, so don't expect the ticket validator to accept a transfer from regional buses. It would not automatically draw the local fare etiher. You need to tell the driver that you will use the card to pay for it. The statewide smart card is simply called BUSSKORT - all of Norrbotten with one card. Except for local tickets in Boden, it gives a 10% reduction of the fare. It can e.g. be obtained and charged at the costumer service by Smedjegatans transfer point in Luleå

Boden vehicles

Bodenbuss 13.
Bus 13, route 3, Svartbjörnsbyns skola.

The fleet is made up mostly of brand new CNG-powered MAN in a yellow livery. Some specimens of the former generation of buses will, according to the city, survive until fall 2012. These are still designed in red and silver colours.

Bodenbuss 3.
Bus 3 at route 1 by Smultronstigen.

Places to see

The pictures just show some examples of the vistas and sights you can encounter, if moving around a little by the bus network.

Engelska kanalen, Boden.
A never finished canal projekt is still visible, called the English channel. Bus 2, Ljungvägen.
Buddbyträsket, Boden.
Buddbyträsket from Svartbjörnsbyn (black bear village). Bus 3 north from downtown. Träsk really means swamp, a common label for lakes in Norrbotten.
Bäver har varit framme i Vittjärv.
A beaver has been chewing at this tree. Vittjärv by route 4.
Konditori Opalen, Boden.
Naturally the downtown is worth a close look. Eat at konditori Opalen, with an amazing array of pastries and cookies. One block west of Medborgarplatsen (center of this picture).
Bodån in Boden.
A stroll along Bodån is a must to do.

Boden links

Nordpoolen, Boden.

A small collection of other sites with information about Boden, transportation, and accomodation. The destination window for these links is the same browser window. The new page will in other words replace the current site Busspojken.

Boden city.

Boden tourist information (6 languages)

Northpo(o)le bath

Local bus transit in Boden

Norrbotten statewide transit undertaker

Private search register with information about buses

Scandinavian airlines

STF hostels, Swedish tourist association

Water tower site. Some from metropolitan Luleå are shown.

Linjebuss 587, Boden.
Linjebuss 587, Scania Maxci at Medborgarplatsen in 2004.

© Busspojken 2011