In a major win for both the environment and commuters in the tiny European nation of Luxembourg, the government is making all public transport free within the country. Luxembourg is the first country in the world to do so at the federal level, with ticket fares being kicked to the curb as of March 1, 2020.
Luxembourg’s public transport system is all-encompassing within the 1,000-square-mile country, and the push is an effort to get commuters out of private vehicles and onto buses, trams, and trains in order to clear up room on the country’s crowded streets and highways.
One might wonder how a country with just 680,000 residents and only one medium-sized metropolitan area could be so congested. At nearly $9,000 per square meter, property in Luxembourg City is far from affordable for the average European family. As a result, many who work in the capital city commute from neighboring Germany, France, and Belgium, creating a backlogged road system in and out of the capital on weekdays.
While free public transport ends at the border, commuters from neighboring countries will enjoy reduced fares.
Luxembourg’s public transit system costs over $500 million per year to run and generates just $42 million in ticket sales. The government’s step to cover the cost of ticket sales is made possible by the country’s booming economy. “The country at this very moment is in really good shape,” said Dany Frank, with Luxembourg’s Ministry of Mobility and Public Works, to CNN. “We, the government, want the people to benefit from the good economy.”