If you board a train, streetcar, or bus in Luxembourg, beginning on March 1, you’ll no longer pay a fare. The country is among the first to pioneer fully free public transit.
The move aims to help reduce inequality—even though the tiny country is known for its wealth, poverty is increasing. “The objective is to stop the deepening gap between rich and poor,” the country’s mobility and public works minister, François Bausch, told the BBC shortly after the plan was first announced. “For people on low wages, transport expenses matter. Therefore it is easier to make it free for everyone.”
The fares were already relatively inexpensive: a single ticket between any two points in the country cost 2 euros (roughly $2). Many riders also already had free fares—youth under age 20, students under 30, and those who get a “social inclusion income,” a basic monthly benefit payment for the lowest-income households. For that reason, some critics have argued that the change won’t have a meaningful impact; writing in the Conversation, researchers from the University of Luxembourg said that rising housing costs were a far bigger problem, and raised concerns that without ticket fares, the already outdated transit infrastructure would continue to decline.
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