On Saturday 29th February 2020, Luxembourg became the first European country to eradicate transport fares.
The government has abolished fares in an attempt to ‘ease traffic congestion’ as commuters will no longer need a ticket for busses, trams or trains. The policy is expected to cost £35m (€41m) due to the lost ticket fares, however, the expense will be covered by Luxembourg’s taxpayers. It is believed that the transport staff will keep their jobs, however, they will no longer be spending vast amounts of time checking tickets.
Speaking to The Independent, deputy prime minister and mobility minister, Francois Bausch said “the system that we have developed in the last century cannot function anymore,” he goes on to state that, “if we organise the big urban areas, this will help with climate change.”
Prior to 29th February 2020, the flat fare for commuters on bus services was £1.70 (€2), but now people will be able to travel for free throughout the Grand Duchy.
Although Luxembourg is economically stable, the country has dire traffic issues with more cars per capita than any other country in the EU. However, the policy isn’t likely to have a major impact on citizens, as only one in every five commuters currently uses public transport.
Francois Bausch has revealed the Luxembourg government has spent £103m (€120m) across France’s border to maximise rail links and encourage commuters to make the switch from car to train.
Fees will still be in place for commuters who wish to travel first class, they will have to pay €3 for the cost of the service. The cost has been put in place for those travellers who wish to “work in serenity,” according to the deputy prime minister.
The new policy was welcomed with numerous events (including concerts) at four different stations.