Luxembourg Will Make All Public Transport Free by 2020

Luxembourg's new coalition government will stop charging for public transport tickets.
Jessica Miley

Luxembourg will waive the price of all public transport in an effort to reduce heavy traffic congestion.

Starting next summer, passengers on fares, on trains, trams, and buses will no longer have to pay for their tickets. 

The move is initiated by the coalition government led by Xavier Bettel, who will be sworn in as prime minister on Wednesday.

The coalition government made up of Vettel's Democratic party, the left-wing Socialist Workers’ party and the Greens, have promised to prioritize the environment.

Luxembourg first in the world to offer free rides

Once the plan is in place, Luxembourg will be the first country in the world to offer totally free public transportation.

The Democrats are also considering legalizing cannabis and introducing two new public holidays. Luxembourg City suffers from some of the worst city congestion in the world. 

Almost 170,000 cross-border commuters come to Luxembourg each day for work putting huge pressure on roads. Most commuters come from the surrounding countries of Belgium, France, and Germany. 

Congested city makes alternative options a must

Luxembourg has been steadily working on ways to make alternative modes of transport more accessible.

In the last six months, the government introduced a program to provide free transport for every child and young person under the age of 20. 

Secondary school students are encouraged to use the free shuttles between their institution and their home.

Prior to going free, the commuter has only been paying €2 for up to two hours of travel, which, in the postage-stamp sized country gets you pretty much everywhere. 

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New government sparks debate early

Currently, the transport system costs about to €1bn per year to operate. But the amount of fare is about €30 m annually.

While there will be some savings in not having to govern ticket sales, the bill will also be picked in part by removing a tax break for commuters.

Some commuters worry that an increase in usage will lower the quality of the ride. 

Other fears that homeless people might turn end up inside the trains during the winter, endlessly crossing the country to stay warm.

Another issue will be what to do about the first and second-hand train carriages.

The move may be the impetus for France to implement a similar strategy. 

Currently, there are many long routes that cost passengers only a euro to ride. 

The policy has sparked heated debate in Luxembourg as it also has plans to legalize the sale of cannabis.

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