In an effort to reduce traffic congestion and the environmental impact of cars, Luxembourg has announced its plan to become the first country in the world to make all its public transportation free.
The European country’s recently re-elected coalition government led by Prime Minister Xavier Bettel has promised to lift fares on trains, trams and buses nationwide by summer 2019, The Guardian reported.
As the paper noted, however, some of the finer points of the plan have yet to be ironed out, including whether trains will still have first and second class compartments and if so, if riders will be charged in those cases.
Traffic congestion is a major problem in Luxembourg, which receives approximately 170,000 cross-border commuters from neighboring France, Belgium and Germany on a daily basis. A study published in 2016 found that drivers in Luxembourg City, the Grand Duchy’s capital, spent an average of 33 hours stuck in traffic every year.
The coalition government, which comprises Bettel’s centrist Democratic party, the left-wing Socialist Workers’ Party and the Greens, had campaigned on a promise of increased environmental protection and improved public services. It hopes that free public transportation will encourage commuters to take buses and trains instead of clogging roads with their cars.
Children and young people under the age of 20 already ride free on public buses, trams and trains in Luxembourg, thanks to a policy change introduced by Bettel’s government earlier this year.
Public transportation fares have also been fixed at a low rate across the country. As the UK’s The Independent newspaper noted, fares are capped at about $2.20 for two hours of travel.
Other than their transport promise, Bettel’s new coalition government says it is also considering the legalization of cannabis and the introduction of two new public holidays, including “Europe Day” on May 9.