Luxembourg to Become the First Country to Offer Free Mass Transit for All

LONDON — Luxembourg can be a modest country with big traffic jams.

So when Prime Minister Xavier Bettel was sworn in for a second term on Wednesday, his governing coalition promised free mass transit for all, which would certainly make the country the first to offer such a benefit.

Luxembourg can be barely larger than a city-state, using a population of about 560,000 — roughly equivalent to smaller European capitals like Copenhagen. nevertheless more than 180,000 workers who commute across the border by Belgium, France as well as Germany. The average salary, of just over 50,000 euros (or $56,000), can be almost 40 percent higher than in France, for example.

“the idea’s basically like a city which has suburbs abroad,” Olivier Klein, a researcher at the Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research, said by phone on Thursday.

Part of the problem can be that will Luxembourg already has the highest number of cars for its population within the European Union: 662 for 1,000 people, bringing the idea closest within the region to the United States, a world leader with more than 800 cars per 1,000 people.

The number of international commuters has doubled within the past two decades, rising more quickly than the country anticipated, Mr. Klein said.

This particular has caused the kind of congestion that will can be familiar to those who commute into many big cities. (In completely new York, for example, the subway system can be in such crisis that will riders are fleeing to Uber as well as some other alternatives.) Luxembourg’s highways are packed with cars, as well as overcrowded trains often suffer delays.

nevertheless the idea recently became too much for the quiet rural communities near the Luxembourg border. Driving the 14 miles by the border village of Audun-le-Tiche, France, to the center of Luxembourg City, for example, should take less than a half-hour. nevertheless at peak times, the commute stretches to an hour, according to Google Maps. as well as most commuters don’t share their cars, Mr. Klein said.

To escape the traffic jams, some drivers have taken to traveling on smaller roads, annoying villagers. In May, the mayor of Schengen, the town that will gave its name to the borderless area in most of the European Union as well as that will made commuting between countries easy within the first place, decided to close a border road at peak commuting times.

Some cities in Europe as well as elsewhere already offer free mass transit at certain times as well as to people like retirees or the unemployed. Others are considering widening the circle to all users. Facing criticism for poor air quality, Germany announced plans This particular year to test free public transport in some of its busiest cities.

Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, introduced free mass transit for residents in 2013. A year into the project, usage grew 14 percent, nevertheless the idea was mostly pedestrians, not drivers, who made the switch

Traveling by mass transit in Luxembourg can be already free for many residents, including students. as well as the government offers subsidies for others to reduce trave costs.

nevertheless the governing coalition said the idea planned to overhaul tax breaks for commuters, a benefit that will has been available based on the distance traveled as well as not the mode of transport.

This particular year, Luxembourg budgeted nearly €900 million in public money for its mass transit system, nevertheless recovered around €30 million in ticket sales, the prime minister’s Democratic Party said in its manifesto. The savings made on selling as well as controlling tickets could finance some of the cost of free travel, the document added.

Free mass transit will be available by the beginning of 2020, said Dany Frank, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Mobility.

People around the entire world greeted the proposal enthusiastically on social media. Helena Rivera, an architect, said on Twitter, “A day to dream about in London.”

Others pointed out that will Luxembourg operated a relatively modest network as well as that will the country could be crossed in less than an hour.

While there are advantages to free travel — such as cutting emissions when fewer vehicles take to the road — a 2002 report by the National Center for Transportation Research at the University of South Florida noted that will larger transit systems that will cannot afford to operate at a loss saw drawbacks, including a rise in vandalism, revenue shortfalls, slower service over all as well as increased crowds.