Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Luxembourg Makes Public Transport Free

Popular
A photo taken on on Feb. 29 shows a train at Dudelange's train station as the country inaugurates its free public transports policy. JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN / AFP / Getty Images

Luxembourg Transport Minister Francois Bausch hailed a "great day" for the Grand Duchy, as it became the first country on Earth to make public transport ticket free.


The small but wealthy nation has introduced free public transport in an effort to "motivate" residents — and 214,000 daily foreign commuters — to change their behavior in the hilly region wedged between Germany, Belgium and France.

Rides on buses, trains, and trams were already free on Saturdays but all charges have now been scrapped as the week closes.

Preexisting sales of €2 tickets had amounted to €41 million ($45 million) or just 8 percent of Luxembourg's annual transport budget of €500 million.

Public transport will now be funded largely via taxes paid into the national budget, meaning travel savings for private households, especially "low earners," said Bausch's ministry, adding: "The scheme applies to residents, cross-border commuters and tourists alike."

Commuters, Visitors Will Benefit Too

"You will no longer need a ticket to board any national bus, train or the tram," proclaimed Luxembourg's public transport consortium Saturday, adding: "Commuters from neighboring countries will benefit from reduced fares!"

It warned Luxembourgers however: "Free public transport ends at the border, so you must get a cross-border pass or ticket if you plan to travel outside of the territory of the Grand Duchy."

Tickets would also be needed for first-class travel on trains.

To end traffic jams, Luxembourg in 2017 opened the first section of its planned tram service from the capital's southern outskirts to its airport to the north.

And it's now focused on anticipating travel demand, doubling "Park+Ride" car parking spaces "especially at borders" and establishing "cohesive" cycle routes across its 2,586-square-kilometer (998-square-mile-) landscape.

Alone for its nascent track network, 4 billion euros are being invested over the period 2018 to 2027, to cater for an anticipated 20 percent rise in public mobility needs by 2025.

That amounts to €600 per Luxemburg resident per year on rail transport, says the ministry.

Stuck in Traffic

A survey done in 2018 by TNS Ilres found that cars in Luxembourg accounted for 47 percent of business travel and 71 percent of leisure transport.

By 2030, its public transport fleet is expected to have "alternative drive technology," a reference to electric motorization.

Luxembourg, by area one of Europe's smallest sovereign states but one of four EU seats, including the European Court of Justice, is staffed by commuters who travel daily from neighboring France, Belgium and Germany.

Population Growth

The 614,000-person dukedom, with comparatively high wages, is facing strong growth in population. Almost half are foreigners, including resident Portuguese citizens making up 18 percent, and French at 13 percent.

Bausch, a former Luxembourg rail civil servant and member of the Greens, is also Luxembourg's deputy prime minister in a three-party liberal-social democrat-greens coalition government renewed in 2018 and headed by premier Xavier Bettel.

In neighboring Germany, Alexander Handschuh, spokesman for the country's DStGB local bodies association, said Luxembourg's move signaled a paradigm shift because it was trying "very resolutely with an all-round concept" to boost public transport.

Reposted with permission from Deutsche Welle.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Refrigerated trucks function as temporary morgues at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal on May 06, 2020 in New York City. As of July, the states where COVID-19 cases are rising are mostly in the West and South. Justin Heiman / Getty Images

The official number of people in the U.S. who have lost their lives to the new coronavirus has now passed 130,000, according to tallies from The New York Times, Reuters and Johns Hopkins University.

Read More Show Less
A man walks on pink snow at the Presena glacier near Pellizzano, Italy on July 4, 2020. MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP via Getty Images

In a troubling sign for the future of the Italian Alps, the snow and ice in a glacier is turning pink due to the growth of snow-melting algae, according to scientists studying the pink ice phenomenon, as CNN reported.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Climate activist Greta Thunberg discusses EU plans to tackle the climate emergency with Parliament's environment committee on March 4, 2020. CC-BY-4.0: © European Union 2020 – Source: EP

By Abdullahi Alim

The 2008 financial crisis spurred a number of youth movements including Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring. A decade later, this anger resurfaced in a new wave of global protests, from Hong Kong to Beirut to London, only this time driven by the children of the 2008 financial crisis.

Read More Show Less
A climate activist holds a victory sign in Washington, DC. after President Obama announced that he would reject the Keystone XL Pipeline proposal on November 6, 2015. Mark Wilson / Getty Images

By Jake Johnson

The Supreme Court late Monday upheld a federal judge's rejection of a crucial permit for Keystone XL and blocked the Trump administration's attempt to greenlight construction of the 1,200-mile crude oil project, the third such blow to the fossil fuel industry in a day—coming just hours after the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the court-ordered shutdown of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A forest fire in Yakutsk in eastern Siberia on June 2, 2020. Yevgeny Sofroneyev / TASS via Getty Images

Once thought too frozen to burn, Siberia is now on fire and spewing carbon after enduring its warmest June ever, according to CNN.

Read More Show Less