Luxembourg to make all public transport free

Photo: EPA Luxembourg PM Xavier Bettel (R) after the swear-in ceremony.

Luxembourg is set to become the first country in the world to make all its public transport free. Under the plans of the re-elected coalition government led by PM Xavier Bettel, who was sworn in for a second term last Wednesday, fares on trains, trams and buses will be lifted next summer.

Bettel, whose Democratic party will form a government with the left-wing Socialist Workers' party and the Greens, had vowed to prioritise the environment during the recent election campaign. On top of the transport pledge, the new government is also considering legalising cannabis, and introducing two new public holidays.

Luxembourg has already shown some of the steps to be taken in the future. This summer, the government brought in free transport for every child and young person under the age of 20. Furthermore, secondary school students can use free shuttles between their institution and their home.

All other commuters pay only €2 for up to two hours of travel, which in such a small country overs almost all journeys. Now, from the start of 2020 all tickets will be abolished, saving on the collection of fares and the policing of ticket purchases. The policy is yet to be fully elaborated as a decision has yet to be taken on what to do about first- and second-class compartments on trains.

The capital of Luxembourg suffers from some of the worst traffic congestion in the world. It is home to about 110,000 people, but a further 400,000 commute into the city to work. A study suggested that drivers in the capital spent an average of 33 hours in traffic jams in 2016.

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