LUXEMBOURG is set to become the first country in the world to make all of its public transport free.
The small European country will lift fares for trains, trams and buses from next summer, under the ambitious new proposals by Xavier Bettel’s administration. The recently elected Prime Minister has pledged to prioritise environmental issues in his liberal-led coalition with the Socialist Workers’ party and the Greens. Mr Bettel has also promised to legalise cannabis, introduce two new public holidays and increase investment in public services.
The proposal aims to reduce traffic congestion, as despite being a country of just 999 square miles, Luxembourg City suffers from some of the worst traffic congestion in the world.
The City is home to just 110,000 people, but it becomes inundated with a further 400,000 commuters, with half of travelling from neighbouring countries France, Germany and Belgium.
A study suggested that drivers in the capital spent an average of 33 hours in traffic jams in 2016. The introduction of free public transport is hoped to reduce this, by encouraging a shift away from commuting in private in private cars.
A free shuttle service is provided for secondary school students between their homes and school and earlier this year free transport was introduced for under 20s.
Commuters currently pay just €2 (£1.78) for up to two hours of travel, or €4 (£3.56) for a day ticket. But even this minimal fee will be abolished from the start of 2020.
The policy will save the government money on the collection and policing of ticket purchases.