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Luxembourg Set to Become First Country Worldwide to Make All Its Public Transport Free of Charge

The small Grand Duchy in the middle of Europe is set to break new ground as it moves to remove fares for all buses, trams and trains for anyone travelling in the country [1].

Following in the footsteps of similar news from Estonia earlier this year, Luxembourg now moves to remove the ticketing system altogether from its public transport system [2]. The reasoning behind this move comes from an already heavily subsidized ticket price for travellers, along with reports that the capital, Luxembourg City, suffers from some of the worst congestion in the world. As it stands, approximately 110,000 people live in the city, but some 400,000 commute there for work, making the average commuter spend about 33 hours in traffic jams per year.

Removing fares for public transport mirrors of similar past moves of the local government, for example abolishing all PT fares for everyone under the age of 20, along with subsidizing trips across the country down to just €2 for commuters. According to the current timeline, all PT fares will be abolished at the start of 2020.

 

Personal comments

Abolishing fares for public transport does not only ease congestion and costs for ticketing systems but also helps with a variety of environmental issues, mobility availability and could boost tourism as well. It is becoming clear that there is a breakpoint where subsidizing the PT-system enough makes it easier and cheaper to just make it free for all instead. In Estonia this number was an 80% subsidy across the entire system; in Luxembourg, it is something similar, but not clear as of yet. Where this breakpoint is for different regions seems something interesting to study further, as it opens up many new possibilities for both mobility providers and users.

 

Written by Darijan Jelica, RISE Viktoria.

 

Sources

1. 2018-12-05. Luxembourg to become first country to make all public transport free.

2. 2018-05-29. Freeing public transport in Estonia.