Free public transport: benefits and harms

You can drive through Luxembourg within two hours, past the vineyards next to the Moselle river in the east and the zigzag valleys in the Ardennes region in the north and the charming villages with many castles and farm lands.


However, you can also take two hours to travel to and from work in the capital city of Luxembourg, because the traffic congestion here is quite serious.

At the end of last year, Luxembourg made headlines when it announced that all public transport would be free. From March 1, 2020, when traveling by train, tram and bus across the tiny tax haven country sandwiched between Germany, France and Belgium, passengers will be free.

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This will benefit 602,000 Great Kingdoms and 175,000 cross-border workers as well as about 1.2 million visitors annually. Over the past four decades, Luxembourg residents have grown by nearly 240,000 people. The workforce increased from 161,000 in 1998 to 427,000 in 2018, partly because of a 168% increase in cross-border workers.

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Today, the Grand Duchy has the highest number of passenger vehicles per person in the European Union (including company cars registered in Luxembourg to transport cross-border employees who are not permanent residents). Over 60% of people who go to work by private car go to work, while only 19% use public transport.

However, cutting traffic congestion and improving the environment is not the main driver of the free public transport idea, said François Bausch, Minister of Transport and Public Service.

“It’s basically a social measure”, he said. “The goal is to prevent the gap that is widening between the rich and the poor. For those with low wages, travel costs are a problem. Therefore, free transportation will make traveling easier”.

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Free public transport is one of several social laws that Luxembourg’s recent re-elected government is eager to approve in 2019, including increasing minimum wages, adjusting pensions and grants. major for higher education.

“Free transportation is a great idea”, said M’Barek Rabii. He works in La Provençale, Luxembourg’s national wholesale market. Having divorced and currently has a 12-year-old child, his income only reaches the statutory minimum wage.