Luxembourg is all set to make public transport free by next year. Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, who was sworn in for his second term, said that fares on trains, trams and buses will be lifted next summer under the plans of the re-elected coalition government. This news came about when Bettel had then vowed to prioritise the environment during the recent election campaign. The Democratic Party who will form a government with the left-wing Socialist Workers’ Party and the Greens have also taken into consideration to legalise cannabis.
According to reports, Luxembourg City, home to about 110,000 people suffers from some of the worst traffic congestion in the world with about 400,000 commuting into the city to work.
In 2016, a study suggested that drivers in the capital spent an average of 33 hours in traffic jams in 2016.
While the country as a whole has 600,000 inhabitants, nearly 200,000 people living in France, Belgium and Germany cross the border every day to work in Luxembourg.
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Even before the news of making public transport free was announced, the small European country has shown an increasing progressive attitude to transport. The government had brought in free transport for every child and young person under the age of 20 earlier this summer.
Up until now, commuters need only pay €2 (US$2.20) for up to two hours of travel, a time measure that could cover the 2,590 square kilometre. From now, even the very limited charge of public transport will also be rolled back by 2020.
The policy is yet to be fully thought through, however. A decision is yet to be taken on what to do about first- and second-class compartments on trains.
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However, on the policy of the new government that will legalise the purchase, possession and consumption of cannabis for recreational use, the issue remains debated.