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Luxembourg: Public Transport Now Free

Updated: May 7, 2020

Emma Reynolds reveals more about the new initiative that sees Luxembourg become the first country to introduce free public transport.

Photo by Josh Hild


On the 29th February 2020, the government of Luxembourg abolished fares for trains, trams and buses. This change was introduced with the aim of reducing congestion and pollution in the country, and to support members of the public who are on a lower living wage. The only exception will be for first-class train tickets, which will cost €3.


The government is hoping that this new legislation will encourage 20% more people to travel using public transport. They are aiming to reduce the number of cars on the road by 15% by 2025.


Due to Luxembourg’s tiny size, measuring only 2586 km², it has been difficult to keep up with the amount of daily commuters, and controlling the congestion they cause. There are almost 625,000 inhabitants in the country, and around 214,000 of them travel to work every single day, causing large traffic jams.


Luxembourg has the highest greenhouse gas emissions per capita in the EU, with over half of the emissions originating from transport.


The transport minister of Luxembourg, François Bausch, made a statement explaining the government’s decision, saying that


“for people with low incomes or the minimum wage, for them it’s really substantial, the main reason is to have better control of mobility, and then the side reason is clearly also environmental issues.”

The ground-breaking steps Luxembourg is taking to innovate travel in their country are continuing in the coming years, with plans due to be finished by 2030.


The government has had plans to invest €3.9 billion into railways, upgrade the bus and tram network to introduce more electric vehicles, and add more park-and-ride sites to the border, all in an effort to reduce congestion as well as emissions.


The idea of bringing free transport into every single country in Europe and the UK would be incredible, both for economic and environmental reasons. It would encourage more people to commute using buses and trains, pulling cars off of the road, reducing congestion, and decreasing emissions.


It would also inspire people to engage in more exercise, since people will walk to their local station or bus stop in order to use public transport. It could also be beneficial for wellbeing, as people would be in contact with more people every day, which could allow people to talk more and feel less alone.


Such a transition would not be straightforward, but drastic change is needed in order to change how people travel if we really want to combat climate change and reduce urban pollution.


 

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