12 Aug 2013

PM spent day as taxi driver in Oslo

8:04 am on 12 August 2013

Norwegian prime minister Jens Stoltenberg spent an afternoon working incognito as a taxi driver in Oslo in June.

Mr Stoltenberg said he had wanted to hear from real Norwegian voters and that taxis were one of the few places where people shared their true views.

He wore sunglasses and a taxi driver's uniform for the shift , revealing his identity only when he was recognised by his passengers.

The BBC reports his exchanges with his passengers were captured on a hidden camera.

The images - made in collaboration with an advertising company - were posted on the prime minister's Facebook page on Sunday and made into a film which will be used during the election campaign in September.

"It is important for me to hear what people really think," he said. "And if there is one place people really say what they think about most things, it's in the taxi."

The BBC reports some of the passengers who appear in the film had been told to wait for the taxi - without being told who would be driving - while others were picked up randomly and from taxi ranks.

None of the passengers was charged for the ride.

Mr Stoltenberg told the VG newspaper: "I'm pretty well known in Oslo, but I tend to sit in the back seat."

He came in for criticism for his driving, at one point jolting the car abruptly when, he said, he mistakenly applied the brake pedal on the automatic car, thinking it was the clutch.

He said he had not driven in eight years.

Mr Stoltenberg is popular in Norway, but opinion polls suggest he is lagging behind the opposition ahead of the election.