Wednesday, January 16, 2019


When it comes to integrated public transport we would do well to make like Luxembourg which is about to become the first country in the world to make all its public transport free. The re-elected coalition government led by Xavier Bettel, who was sworn in for a second term as prime minister, will see fares on trains, trams and buses will be lifted next summer. Bettel’s 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. 

Luxembourg City, the capital of the small Grand Duchy, suffers from some of the worst traffic congestion in the world and is home to about 110,000 people, but a further 400,000 commute into the city to work. Drivers in the capital spent an average of 33 hours in traffic jams in 2016. While the country as a whole has 600,000 inhabitants, nearly 200,000 people living in France, Belgium and Germany cross the border every day to work in Luxembourg. 

The Grand Duchy, has shown a progressive attitude to public transport. This summer, the government brought in free transport for every child and young person under the age of 20. Additionally secondary school students can use free shuttles between their institution and their home. Commuters need only pay €2 for up to two hours of travel, which in a country of just 2,590 square km (999 square miles) covers almost all journeys. From the start of 2020 all tickets will be abolished, saving on the collection of fares and the policing of ticket purchases. As yet no decision has been taken on what to do about first- and second-class compartments on trains. 

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