Soon, all public transport in Luxembourg will be free as fares for trains, trams, and buses are lifted next summer. This is one part of the plans of the re-election coalition government led by Xavier Bettel has been sworn in as Prime Minister for a second term.
Luxembourg’s capital is home to about 110,000 people while a further 400,000 commute into the city to work daily. On average, it’s estimated that drivers in Luxembourg City spend an average of 33 hours in traffic in 2017.
To the benefit of its people, Luxembourg has adopted a progressive attitude in addressing transportation. Last summer, the government provided free public transport for every child and young person under 10, while free shuttle services were made available to secondary school children travelling between home and school. On top of that, there’s an extremely low far of only €2 (S$3.1) for two hours of travel, which in such a small country covers almost all journeys. Luxembourg has a minimum wage of €1,999 (S$3,100) with an income tax of 16~18% if you earn around that wage.
It’s hoped that by 2020, all tickets for public transportation will be abolished, leaving no need for fare collection and policing of ticket purchases and a significant reduction in traffic congestion. But details of the plan still require some hashing out as there’s yet to be a decision on what to do about the existing first- and second-class compartment on some trains.
Apart from making public transportation free for all, the new government coalition led by Bettel, which consists of the liberal Democratic Party, the leftist Socialist Workers’ party, and the Greens, is also considering legalising cannabis for recreational use. This has caused some strong debates.
The new government coalition only just scraped through with 31 out of 60 seats in Chamber which might present a challenge when it comes to passing new, out-of-the-box policies and legislation.
As for those who think the country might face financial difficulties in running such a programme, its central government ran a €358.3 million (S$556.14 million) budget surplus in 2017.