In 1894, engineer Jacob Trumpy was granted contractual right to establish his own passenger ferry service over Vågen in Bergen. Trumpy founded the company A/S Bergens Elektriske Færgeselskab, shortened “B.E.F.” — which later lead to the ferry’s well-known nickname «Beffen». In a town famous for its mountainous terrain, water-borne transportation had always been preferred, and Trumpy’s ferry service became a valuable part of Bergens infrastructure. The BEF ferries were originally powered by rechargeable electrical batteries, until the introduction of the petrol engine in 1926.
With time, new bridges, tunnels and better roads caused Bergens bustling maritime activity to diminish. Today, “Beffen” is the only surviving ferry from that bygone era, a lonely reminder of how valuable Bergen’s local ferry services used to be. The recognisable Beffen ferries still bear their original design from the 1940’s — and recent years have even seen the reintroduction of eco-friendly electrical engines. As of 2016, Beffen is Norway’s first and only zero-emission vessel classified as a passenger ferry.