Luxembourg to Have Free Public Transportation by 2020
By the year 2020, Luxembourg will be the first country to have a public transportation system that is completely free. On Dec. 5, the tiny country (about the size of Rhode Island, for comparison), made the decision to allow riders to use public transportation free of charge.
With a countrywide population of 600,000 people -- coupled with its small size -- the capital city, Luxembourg City, suffers some of the world's worst commuter traffic with 400,000 passengers using public transportation weekly. Before the law's official passing, the commuter fare was relatively cheap to begin with. For example, any passenger under the age of 20 could ride the train for free. And ticket price, for a day-long rail pass, was only €4 ($4.60).
This decision falls in step with a trend other regions throughout Europe have been embracing for quite a while in cities. Tallinn, Estonia, was the first to make their public transportation free for everyone, followed by others throughout the continent including more than two dozen cities in France and Germany.
By reducing and eliminating fares in these European cities and countries, public transportation ridership increases and other methods of transportation (like automobiles, for example) decrease. In 2008, Aubagne, France, eliminated fees on 11, which increased ridership by 142% decreased car trips by 10% over a three year period. Dunkirk, also in France, reported a similar outcome -- with ridership increasing from 50% to 85%.
So, when 2020 rolls around Luxembourg might not be the only European country to visit with free public transportation. However, if you do choose to stop into the small country, make sure that it's not a national holiday.