Luxembourg has made public transport free of cost to ease traffic congestion. This means commuters won’t have to buy bus, train or tram tickets from now. By Tanvi Jain
Out of a population of just over 6,00,000, as many as 2,00,000 workers, which is almost half of the country’s workforce, commute via public transport from Belgium, France and Germany, which surround the country. The rides will be free for both residents as well as visitors, barring the first-class train passengers.
The free public transport facility will be implemented from March 7, 2020 and will reportedly help each household save at least INR 8,000 per year. Statistically speaking, private cars account for around 47 per cent of business travel, and around 71 per cent of leisure. Whereas, buses are used for only 32 per cent of trips, and trains just 19 per cent.
Luxembourg has a severe problem of traffic jams due to the construction of a tramway, which has been going on for years. A 2016 study reportedly suggested that the drivers in the capital city of Luxembourg had spent an average of around 33 hours in traffic.
At an existing cost of INR 160 per ticket, the fare amounts to approximately INR 3.3 billion, which according to the authorities will now be met by the treasury as it’s just eight per cent on the annual budget of over INR 40 billion.
Moreover, Luxembourg also reportedly plans to invest over INR 30 billion in railways from 2018 to 2028, upgrade the bus network, and add more park and ride sites at the border. However, despite waiving the fare completely, the country still expects at least 65 per cent of commuters to travel to work in private cars in 2025.
In the past, other cities such as Dunkirk in France, Tallinn in Estonia, Essen and Mannheim in Germany, Hunan province of China, etc., have also experimented with the free transport idea in some way or the other.