Cost index for passenger transport by bus

Updated: 2 December 2022

Next update: 3 March 2023

Change in costs to diesel-powered buses
Change in costs to diesel-powered buses
3rd quarter 2021 - 3rd quarter 2022

About the statistics

Cost index for passenger transport by bus describes the price trends for bus operating costs. The statistics are updated quarterly.

Definition of the most important concepts and variables:

Cost component: the main cost elements (cost components) in the bus industry.

Cost group: is a higher grouping of cost components. The Cost index for passenger transport by bus is divided into six cost groups (categories): labor costs (direct and indirect costs for all employees in the bus industry), fuel costs, depreciation, real interest rates, repair and maintenance costs, and administrative costs.

Base Price: a previous period that current prices are compared against.

Base year: also called index reference period, the year the index is set to 100.

Laspeyres price index: an index calculation method where the base period weights are kept constant. Statistics Norway operates with a variant of the Laspeyres index designated as L-type index. This variation means that the base price changes (eg. Quarterly) while the weights are often held for more than one year.

Elementary Group: the lowest grouping in index calculation hierarchy. An elementary index shows a relative price change compared to a previous reference price (base price).

Jevons index: refers to the way we calculate / aggregate price relatives (price ratios) at the lowest level (elementary group) in index calculation. A Jevons index is a geometric mean of price ratios.

Weight: shows the cost ratio for a cost component, cost group or an industry in a given index. Weight ratio is used as a measure of the importance of a cost component and determines how much it should count in an index.

The applicable standard classification is The Standard Industrial Classification (SN2007) of Statistics Norway, which is based on the EU standard NACE Rev. 2.

Name: Cost index for passenger transport by bus

Topic: Transport and tourism

3 March 2023

Division for Energy, Environmental and Transport Statistics

National level only.

The statistics is released around 70 days after the end of the relevant quarter.

Not relevant.

Data are stored as text files in Linux.

The development process started in 2012 financed by NHO Transport, the transport arm of the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprises. The purpose of the statistics is to describe the development in costs connected to operating a passenger bus . Six major cost groups are identified for the industry and quarterly cost indices for the six cost groups plus a total index for all the cost groups are produced regularly starting with the first quarter of 2010.

During the development process, a reference group composed of representatives from the industry itself and major utilizers of transport services insured that all relevant aspects of the cost structure were taken into account.

In 2017 a revision of the cost structure started and it was decided to expand the index to include new fuel types. A reference group was once again established with representatives from the bus industry and important users of their services. 

Beginning 1st quarter of 2018 the Cost index for passenger transport by bus includes buses powered by the following energy forms:

  • Auto diesel
  • Biogas
  • Natural gas
  • RME/B100
  • Electricity

Beginning 1st quarter of 2018 the following cost distribution is implemented (per cent):

  • Labour 58.99
  • Fuel 11.11
  • Repair and maintenance 10.39
  1. Tire costs 0,97
  2. Insurance costs for buses 0.61
  3. Repair and maintenance 8.81
  • Administration 8.25
  1. Other administration 2.68
  2. Insurance premium, building 0,.1
  3. Office expenses 0.60
  4. Rent of building 2.76
  5. Light and heating 0.46
  6. Accounting, auditing and consulting 0.73
  7. Renovation, water and drainage 0.18
  8. Repair and maintenance of buildings 0.74
  • Depreciation 10.29
  • Real interest rates 0.96

From 1 st quarter of 2022 the following cost distribution is implemented (per cent):

  • Labour                                                                        58.78
  • Fuel                                                                             9.92
  • Repair and maintenance                                         10.44
    • Tire costs                               0.98
    • Insurance costs for buses   0.62
    • Repair and maintenance    8.84
  • Administration                                                           8.31
    • Other administration                            2.70
    • Insurance premium, building              0.11
    • Office expenses                                     0.60
    • Rent of building                                     2.78
    • Light and heating                                  0.47
    • Accounting, auditing and consulting 0.73
    • Renovation, water and drainage        0.18
    • Repair and maintenance of buildings 0.74
  • Depreciation                                                             10.71
  • Real interest rates                                                     0.63


The cost distribution was estimated by data collection from the seven largest bus companies with collectively about 85 per cent of total activity nationally. Weighting of the results of the seven enterprises was based on financial statement information. 

The statistics are used by businesses when signing and amending prices in passenger bus transport contracts. The indices are also used in price negotiations between providers and users of passenger transport by bus.

No external users have access to the statistics and analyses before they are published and accessible simultaneously for all users on at 08 am. Prior to this, a minimum of three months' advance notice is given inthe Statistics Release Calendar.

The labor cost index is based on data from the quarterly labour cost index produced by Statistics Norway. The indices for fuel costs, administration costs and repair and maintenance costs are based on price indices obtained from the Consumer Price Index and Producer price indices for services of Statistics Norway.

Not relevant.

The cost index for passenger transport by bus includes the industry subgroup 49.311 Bus transport in urban and suburban areas and the industry subgroup 49.391 Bus transport outside urban and suburban areas of the Standard Industrial Classification (SN2007) of Statistics Norway. The index does not include chartered buses and sightseeing tours by bus.

The data source is mainly register based and most of the data is generated from Statistics Norway’s own registers. Supplementary data is also obtained from registers outside Statistics Norway. In addition, prices for buses, biodiesel and gas are collected directly by quarterly questionnaire. 

The data utilized in developing the cost index for passenger transport by bus and their respective sources are listed as follows:

A.  External data sources

  1. Bus producers/Suppliers  – Depreciation costs are calculated based on bus prices
  2. Gas and biodiesel prices are collected from suppliers to the Norwegian market
  3. Interest rate is calculated based on 3-month Nibor collected from and the banks' lending margin
  4. Prices for the five power regions are obtained from Nord Pool

B.  Data from Statistic Norway’s registers

  1. Consumer Price Index (CPI)
  • Auto diesel index
  • Repair and maintenance costs for buses
  • Repair maintenance of buildings
  • Insurance connected with dwelling
  • Post, telecommunication and print materials
  • House rent
  • Electricity including grid rent costs
  • CPI total index

 2.  KOSTRA –Municipal services

  • Water supply
  • Sewerage services
  • Waste removal services

 3.   Producer price indices for services

  • Price index for Legal activities
  • Price index for accounting and auditing services
  • Price index Business consulting services

 4. Cost index for freight transport by road

  • Tire costs
  • Insurance of transport equipment (insurance of buses)

      5.    Electricity prices

  • Electricity prices are collected from Statistics Norway's statistics about electricity prices.

      6. Labor cost index

  • Wage costs for both administrative workers and drivers are obtained from Statistics Norway’s Labor cost index.

Based on the above mentioned sources several cost groups are calculated.

Labor costs

  • Based on salary, irregular and regular supplement, overtime, holiday pay, pensions, social security and other overheads
  • Per hour paid
  • Both full-time and part-time employees
  • Includes all enterprises in the bus industries, both private and public sector

Auto diesel costs are based on the actual pump prices obtained from a selection of retailers located around Norway and it is compiled every month by Statistics Norway for use in the Consumer Price Index.

Natural gas costs are based on data from suppliers to the Norwegian market.

Biogas costs are based on data from suppliers to the Norwegian market.

HVO/BTL costs are based on data from suppliers to the Norwegian market.

RME/B100 costs are based on data from suppliers to the Norwegian market.

Electricity costs are based on quarterly electricity price statistics which include information about average electricity prices for households, services and manufacturing in addition to the wholesale market collected by Statistics Norway.

Repair and maintenance costs includes three cost components: Repair and maintenance of bus (workshop costs, cleaning, etc.), tire costs and insurance costs

  • Repair and maintenance of bus is based on the price index for maintenance and repair of personal transport equipment which is compiled every month by Statistics Norway for use in the Consumer Price Index. This index measures the overall growth in repair shop costs (parts and man-hour rates) at auto repair shops all over Norway.
  • Tire costs are based on reported prices from the six major tire brand retailers in Norway. It is derived from the cost index for freight road transport.
  • Insurance costs are based on reports from the three insurers with the largest market share in the industry. Insurance costs are derived from cost index for freight road transport.

Depreciation costs are based on the price development of new buses from five market-dominating suppliers. The amortization period is 10 years with a residual value of 0 percent.

Including 4th quarter 2021 real interest rates costs were based on 3-month Nibor plus the interest margin, which was inflation-adjusted with a five-year average of CPI-ATE (CPI adjusted for tax changes and excluding energy products). Beginning 1st quarter 2022 3-month Nibor plus the interest margin is used. 

Administradtive costs include costs related to repair and maintenance of buildings, insurance (buildings), sanitation, water and wastewater, accounting, auditing, consulting, office expenses, rental facilities, and light and heat. The various sub-indices are based on data that is already collected by Statistics Norway.

Questionnaires for collecting bus prices are distributed around the middle of the last month in the relevant quarter. Collected data is manually interred in the data editing application where it is treated with simple mathematical and logical controls.

The calculation of the indices is done in three steps:

  1. Elementary indices (price relatives) for representative goods/services are calculated first. These constitute the indices for the respective cost components under each cost group.
  2. The component indices are then weighted together in their respective cost groups to form the indices for the five cost groups, i.e. the sub-cost indices.
  3. In the end, the scb-cost indices for the five cost groups are weighted together to form the total cost index for bus.

The index reference period is the fourth quarter of 2021 (Q4 2021=100). The source of weights for the cost groups is figures obtained from selected companies in the industry supplemented with accounting data.

Not relevant.

The treatment of collected data will be done in accordance with The Statistics Act.

The cost index of bus has been compiled by Statistics Norway since the first quarter of 2010.

The Cost index for passenger transport by bus is largely based on data from other registers in Statistics Norway. Any measurement and processing errors in these registers will be transferred in to the index.

Over time there will be a changes in the cost structure of a bus company. In order to correctly weight the price changes, the weight ratio should at all times reflect the cost structure in the business. Satisfaction of this requirement for representativeness occurs when weights are revised periodically. For the bus index, a revision of weights will be executed every five years.

The data is edited by a set of simple manual and automated controls. Erronouse or incoherent data is detected using simple micro (manual) and macro (statistical controlls) editing and corrected accordingly.