Starting in March 2020, public transport in Luxembourg will be free of charge. Primarily a social measure, this policy will also be implemented to decrease congestion in the capital region.
Luxembourg’s public transportation system is already heavily subsidised as fares in the country are as low as €2 per two hours. Even so, the country has the highest car ownership per person in Europe. This is mainly because citizens and out-of-country commuters argue that Luxembourg’s public transportation is more time consuming compared to driving. Additionally, its unique position between France, Belgium, and Germany, draws lots of commuters across its borders every day.
Therefore, the investment and legislation for free public transportation will be complemented by improving the country’s network, but also for raising the minimum wage, pension adjustments, and financial aid for higher education. For out-of-country commuters, a parallel policy will allow workers to deduct travel expenses from their annual tax bill. However, many citizens argue that the money spent on free transportation and modernising the system can be better spent on rent subsidies or social housing.
Even though free public transportation has existed in Tallinn, Estonia for over six years, there has been no indication that mobility and opportunities for low income residents have improved. Regardless of outcomes in Tallinn, free public transportation demonstrates how social investments can offer multiple solutions for creating more just cities and eventually reverse the trend of growing congestion.