Luxembourg is getting set to become the first country in the world to make traveling on all forms of public transport completely free.
In an ideal world, all of us would use public transport more often. However, it is a lot easier said than done. Despite advances and improvements to buses and trains, it is still a much bigger hassle than using your own car most of the time. It can be inconvenient, expensive, and for the times of day we'd most likely be using it, to get to and from work, it would probably be packed.
If we are 100% honest with ourselves, there would have to be some pretty major changes put in place for us to ditch our cars and use public transport on a more permanent basis. If you live in Luxembourg, you might very well be about to see those changes. The small European nation's government has announced that it plans to make Luxembourg the first country in the world to make public transport free to all of its residents.
Xavier Bettel began his second term as prime minister of Luxembourg last week and has started that term in style. The Guardian reports that his and his government's aim is to abolish fares on the country's trams, trains, and buses as soon as next summer. Secondary school students can already ride shuttle buses between their school and their home for free, while commuters get two hours of travel for €2 ($2.26).
There's a reason those in charge of Luxembourg are prioritizing public transport in this way. Luxembourg City, the country's capital, suffers from some of the worst traffic congestion in the world. If the 110,000 people who call the city home were the only ones on the roads it wouldn't be a problem. However, 400,000 others commute into the capital every day, some of them coming from neighboring countries France and Germany.
If public transport was completely free then we might well be persuaded to use it. Having to spend an hour or so a day on a crowded bus or train would be worth it considering how much money we'd save on gas money and parking fees. Bettel also plans on legalizing cannabis and introducing two new public holidays. He is certainly going to be popular with a lot of Luxembourg locals if he follows through with his promises.