Published: Fri, December 07, 2018
World News | By Sandy Lane

Luxembourg eyes free public transport

Luxembourg eyes free public transport

Luxembourg's capital is home to about 110,000 people while a further 400,000 commute into the city to work daily.

In an effort to reduce traffic congestion and the environmental impact of cars, Luxembourg has announced its plan to become the first country in the world to make all its public transportation free.

The plans, introduced by Prime Minister Xavier Bettel's coalition government, will see trains, trams and buses run free of charge from next summer.

Luxembourg City has some of the worst traffic congestion in the world, The Guardian reported.

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The country's total population is around 600,000, but around 200,000 living in the three neighboring nations cross the border each day to work in the tiny state.

Luxembourg has previously shown it has a forward-looking attitude towards transport - over the summer, the government introduced free transport for young people under the age of 20.

Fares are now capped at two euros for two hours of travel, which in a small European nation of just 999 sq miles (2,590 sq km) covers most journeys.

Drivers spent an average of 33 hours in traffic jams in 2016, according to a study.

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As well as free public transport from 2020, Bettel had also promised to invest more in public services and to legalise recreational use of cannabis.

The policy will save the government money on the collection and policing of ticket purchases.

The national public transport system now costs around €1 billion ($1.13 billion) each year to operate, but only recoups around €30 million ($34 million) in fares, The Independent explained.

There are a few issues to be sorted out before fares are abolished, such as what to do about first- and second-class train compartments.

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Bettel only just scraped back into government in the recent election. The result gave the coalition 31 seats in the 60-seat chamber.

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