Free Public Transport Comes True
Luxembourg, a developed country within Europe, had wide media coverage for its Zero-fare Public Transport policy until recently. Luxembourg will be the first country to offer public transport totally free. As per the reports, the system will work from March 1, 2020, after which all residents and visitors can use trains, trams, and buses free of cost.
Facts about Luxembourg
- Luxembourg has a population of 6.02 Lakhs as of 2018.
- Albeit, Luxembourg is the smallest in size among other European countries; it is the second richest country in the world.
- According to the UN survey, Luxembourg is the safest country in the world.
- Luxembourg has a huge rate of car ownership in the world.
Free Public Transportation Service- The Big Step
Luxembourg is a small supreme state with its capital city, small towns, and countryside. It shares borders with Belgium, France, and Germany. Moreover, Luxembourg’s transportation system covers the entire country and costs $562 million per year to run. Each year, it creates around$ 46 million in ticket sales. According to a 2017 report by the Ministry of Sustainable Development & Infrastructure, Luxembourg has 662 cars per 1000 people. Also, cars are the primary means of transportation for commuters.
Zero-fare Public Transport in Luxembourg: Major Concerns
Luxembourg is suffocating with its highest rate of car ownership in the world, Luxembourg likes to present itself as a stable nation. The booming economy and high concentration of jobs led to congestion issues. Once the number of private vehicles on roads decreases, it can simultaneously solve the issue of traffic congestion.
As we all know, car pollutants cause abrupt and lasting consequences on the environment. Fumes of carbon dioxide emitted out of cars create air pollution, which consecutively leads to global warming. The smoke, carbon monoxide, and other toxins emitted by vehicles are especially toxic as they are directly inhaled by humans and can damage the lungs. When a large number of people depend on public transportation facilities, the use of private vehicles like cars may decline automatically. This, up to an extent, can block environmental pollution. Similarly, the Ministry of Luxembourg has a zero-emission goal to achieve by 2030.
A Social Measure
According to François Baush, Ministry for Mobility and Public Works, the policy of free public transportation is principally a societal measure. The aim is to stop the rising gap between rich and poor. They believe that free public transport will control social stratification based on wealth. This new system is helpful for people who work on low wages. Although Luxembourg is generally perceived as a wealthy nation, poverty is increasing within, according to the Luxembourg statistic office ( Auxenfants, 2019).
- Convincing car drivers to choose public transportation is a difficult task.
- Distance: This policy would not work for cross border workers. For long term distance, private vehicles are more convenient than connecting buses.
- Increase in vandalism: National Transportation Union is opposing the policy.
- Even after the implementation of the policy, first-class accommodation in trains would not be eliminated. People still have to pay.
- Price is merely a single factor in an individual’s option of transportation. This implies that pricing solely will not cause major transformations in travel behavior. Several people will choose to go by car as it’s faster and more dependable.
- Cars continue to be a status symbol for many people. More than half of commuters use their cars to get to work compared to a few who use public transport.
Zero-fare Public Transport: Triumph or Letdown?
It’s only after the implementation of policy, we can analyze how successful the measure is. The success exclusively depends on the residents and their choice of transportation. But in a way, this policy is a positive move toward sustainable development and environmental protection.
Auxenfants, Marc. 2019. The Cost of Luxembourg’s Free Public Transport Plan. Retrieved on October 11, 2019 from http://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20190128-the-cost-of-luxembourgs-free-publc-transport-plan