All public transport to be free in Luxembourg in a world first

The newly elected government in Luxemborg has promised to offer free public transport beginning next summer.

Grand Duchy Prime Minister Xavier Bettel introduced the plan yesterday, December 5, when he took office for his second term, as reported by The Guardian on the same day.

Bettel, who took office for a second term on Wednesday, made environmental protection a key part of his election campaign.

The move to make all public transport in Luxembourg free is aimed at reducing the country's traffic congestion.

The transport policy was formulated in response to the traffic congestion being experienced in landlocked Luxembourg.

Most people working in the city commute from the neigbouring countries and are set to benefit from the free public transport system.

Sandwiched between France, Belgium and Germany, from which nearly 200,000 people enter it daily to work, the Guardian reports.

Children and young people under the age of 20 already ride free on public buses, trams and trains in Luxembourg, thanks to a policy change introduced by Bettel's government earlier this year. As the UK's The Independent newspaper noted, fares are capped at about $2.20 for two hours of travel.

Secondary school students are also provided free shuttle services between their places of study and homes.

It's understood abolishing all public transport fares will save the government money on the collection and processing of fares.

The finer details of the proposal are still to be determined - including what to do about first and second-class carriages on trains.

Opinion polls before October's poll had indicated that the Christian Social People's party (CSV) - led for 19 years by the European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker - would end Bettel's five years as prime minister. The result gave the coalition 31 seats in the 60-seat chamber. The new government also plans to introduce two new public holidays.

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