Luxembourg to Offer Free Mass Transit for All
When Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel was sworn in for his second term on Wednesday, his governing coalition announced plans to offer free public transportation for all starting in early 2020.
In the European Union, Luxembourg has the highest number of cars for its population at 662 per 1,000 people. In addition to Luxembourg’s 560,000 citizens, there are also over 180,000 workers commuting inside the nation’s borders from the neighboring countries of Belgium, Germany, and France. In the past two decades, the number of international commuters has almost doubled.
A study by the transport company Inrix found that the average driver in Luxembourg City spent 33 hours in traffic jams in 2016, making it the 134th most congested city out of the over 1,000 studied.
Mass transit in Luxembourg is already free for students and costs two euros for others to travel anywhere around the 998-square-mile country. The entire transport system costs the government 900 million Euros per year to operate and generates revenues of 30 million Euros. But without the expenses that come from the collection and processing of fares, the government can continue to operate the transport system at a lower cost.
Additionally, the government is investing in new modes of transportation, such as a tram project and car-sharing app.
Other cities in Europe have already taken similar actions. Due to facing EU penalties for poor air quality, Germany said it would test free public transit in five cities. Estonia’s capital, Tallinn, had already made public transit free in 2013 and found it benefited pedestrians more than drivers. Likewise, in Davis, California, the introduction of free buses resulted in a fall in cycle usage.
In light of increasing urbanization, increasing traffic, and grueling climate change statistics, the European Commission set two critical objectives to be accomplished by 2050: zero emission urban centers and cities without conventional motorized vehicles.