Luxembourg becomes first country with free public transport



Luxembourg on Saturday became the first country in the world to offer free public transport, as the small and wealthy EU country tries to help less-well-off workers and reduce road traffic.

Some cities elsewhere have already taken similar, partial measures. But the transport ministry said it was the first time such a decision covered an entire country.

The free transport, flagged as “an important social measure”, affects approximately 40 per cent of households and is estimated to save each one around 100 euros ($110) per year.

Not all passengers were aware of the change, which was brought forward one day ahead of schedule.

It’s free? I didn’t know,” said a woman in her 50s who gave her first name as Dominique as she waited at Luxembourg’s main train station

Transport workers were concerned about what impact the measure would have on their job security.

“We don’t yet know” what will happen to their positions, said one ticket seller at the station who declined to give his name.
All the public transport workers are worried. It’s not yet clear.”

– Traffic woes –

The measure is part of a plan intended to reduce congestion.

Private cars are the most used means of transport in the Grand Duchy, accounting for 47 per cent of business travel and 71 per cent of leisure transport.

With more than 200,000 people living in neighbouring France, Germany and Belgium who work in Luxembourg and most of them driving in, that makes for major traffic jams at peak hours.

BINNABOOK PUBLISHERS

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