Free public transport rolled out in a country for first time

Luxembourg to become first country to introduce free public transport lailasnews

Luxembourg to become first country to introduce free public transport lailasnews

Luxembourg is set to become the first country in the world to scrap fees on all forms of public transport.

Prime Minister Xavier Bettel's idea therefore means fare on bus rides, trains and trams will completely be scraped off if he lives up to his vision.

The tiny country of just 2590 square kilometres is home to about 110,000 people, but an additional 400,000 travel to the city for work. As the UK's The Independent newspaper noted, fares are capped at about $2.20 for two hours of travel.

"I'm not sure if making public transport free here in Luxembourg will take more people out of their cars", he said.

The coalition government, which comprises Bettel's centrist Democratic party, the left-wing Socialist Workers' Party and the Greens, had campaigned on a promise of increased environmental protection and improved public services. On average, it's estimated that drivers in Luxembourg City spend an average of 33 hours in traffic in 2017.

And secondary school students are provided with free shuttles between their places of study and their home.

Around 200,000 others cross the border to Germany, France and Belgium daily.

The move will also save on the collection and processing of fares and the policing of ticket purchases.

The new administration is also considering introducing two new public holidays and legalising cannabis - the latter policy has caused much debate in the country.

Georges Merenz, who heads the FNCTTFEL-Landesverband, Luxembourg's main transport union, expressed concerns that the government plan would lead to job losses if nobody was needed to sell tickets.

There are a few issues to be sorted out before fares are abolished, such as what to do about first- and second-class train compartments.

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