Luxembourg will celebrate a world first when it makes all forms of public transport a free service. The city experiences some of the worst traffic problems in the world and hopes to relieve traffic congestion by making all bus, train, and tram trips free of charge.
Next Step: To Abolish Fares Completely
The plan for free public transport was put forward in the election platform of coalition government leader, Xavier Bettel who is serving his second term as Luxembourg’s leader. His Democratic Party has teamed up with the Socialist Worker’s Party, and the Greens with promises to prioritize an environmentally-friendly agenda.
Luxembourg City has a population of 110,000, but an estimated 400,000 commute to work in the city. The resulting gridlock means that motorists have spent 33 hours on average stuck in traffic jams since 2016. Commuting plays a big role in Luxembourg’s economy. The Grand Duchy hosts approximately 200,000 commuters from neighboring France, Belgium, and Germany every day.
Progress towards free public transport has already been made, with the government introducing free rides for all children and young people under twenty years of age. Free shuttles ferry secondary school students between school and home, and although other commuters do pay a fare, just €2 covers a trip on most commuter routes.
The next step will be to abolish fares completely, and there will be some cost saving realized since tickets need no longer be sold and purchase compliance need no longer be policed.
Luxembourg plans to implement its plan in 2020, but some details must still be settled. For example, there are questions on what to do about first and second class train seats. However, it seems that free public transport in Luxembourg isn’t a political hot potato – instead, controversy is centered on government plans to legalize recreational cannabis use.