Luxembourg is set to become the first country in the world to offer free public transport. From 2020, all fares for buses, trains and trams will be scrapped as part of a new environmental push.
A new coalition government is taking office in the Grand Duchy with the promise of abolishing tickets on trains, trams and buses next summer.
Young people travel free, and many commuters qualify for an annual “mPass” which costs €150 for all public transport.
Luxembourg’s transport system costs close to €1bn per year to operate. But partly as a result of the concessionary offers, fares amount to only €30m annually.
From summer 2019, tickets are set to be abolished. Part of the cost will be covered by removing a tax break for commuters.
The move will save on the collection and processing of fares. It may also encourage a shift away from private cars; traffic congestion, especially around Luxembourg City, is a serious problem.
If the idea is deemed a success, neighbouring France may start to remove “peppercorn” fares from some bus services. At present passengers can travel for many miles to and from cities such as Nice and Perpignan for a flat fare of just €1.
In addition, no decision has been taken on how to handle the present demarcation between first and second class compartments on the trains.
The coalition of the centrist Democratic Party, the left-wing Socialist Workers’ Party and the Greens is led by premier-designate Xavier Bettel. It is known as the “Gambia coalition” because the parties’ colours are blue, red and green respectively – which together are the colours of the Gambian flag.
The new government is also aiming to legalisE cannabis, and to introduce two new public holidays – including one on 9 May, “Europe Day”.
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