All Luxembourg passengers welcome the government decision to abolish fares for trains, trams and buses in the tiny European country. Since Saturday, all standard-class journeys on public transport in the wealthy country are now free of charge, Reuters reports.
Luxembourg government said that decision was a bid to tackle road congestion and pollution, as well as supporting low earners. Meanwhile, travellers can still pay for first-class, at a cost of 660 euros a year. In average, an annual pass worth 440 euros before.
“For people with low incomes or the minimum wage, for them, it’s really substantial,” transport minister Francois Bausch said and added that the main reason is to have a better quality of mobility. The positive side effects are clear air and a healthier environment.
Luxembourg, a small country, has just over 600,000 inhabitants, but 214,000 more travel in for work every day from neighbouring Germany, Belgium and France. Such heavy traffic jams as the majority of workers commute by car. More than half of Luxembourg’s greenhouse gas emissions come from transport.
For many people in Luxembourg, switching from driving to work to taking the bus saves time and money. In addition, Luxembourg City is not a huge place so that really is a long driving time. Now, with the free of charge public transport, the centre will look nicer.
To cope with the many commuters, Luxembourg plans to invest 3.9 billion euros in railways from 2018-28, upgrade the bus network and add more park-and-ride sites on the border.
Despite these investments, the government expects 65% of commuters to still get to work by car in 2025, down from 73% in 2017. For now, Luxembourg is the first country to roll out free transport, but some EU cities, including Estonian capital Tallinn, have also experimented with the idea.