POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - ECONOMY

Free rides pushed back to early 2020



Archive photo shows mobility minister François Bausch during a demonstration of an electric bus in Luxembourg Mike Zenari/archives

Archive photo shows mobility minister François Bausch during a demonstration of an electric bus in Luxembourg Mike Zenari/archives

Public transport users will have to wait until the beginning of 2020 to get a free ride in Luxembourg.

The new government made headlines globally with its pledge to make public transport free in Luxembourg last year. However, passengers will have to wait until the beginning of 2020 to take advantage of this generous offer.

Speaking in parliament on Thursday, mobility minister François Bausch (Green party) said that the measure would enter into force in the first quarter of 2020, with the exact date to be announced in the coming 10 days.

Removing the ticket price for travel is estimated to cost the state around €30m per year. A solution to plug this gap is expected to be found through discussions with different authorities.

Bausch reassured parliament that ticket inspectors would not be dismissed following the entry into force of the law. He said that discussions are ongoing with Luxembourg rail operator CFL so that train controllers are given other tasks. In relation to passenger and staff safety on trains, Bausch said that discussions are underway to introduce fines for passenger misconduct.

The measure forms part of a government strategy to lower carbon emissions in Luxembourg and reduce congestion in the capital. 2017 saw the inuaguration of new train stations in Howald and Pfaffenthal Gare as well as the funicular and a first section of tram in Kirchberg. If all goes to plan, the tram line will be completed as far as the central station by the end of 2020, Bausch said on Thursday.

Other measures include the electrification of bus fleets and subsidies for people who purchase private cars

In 2018, the government introduced tax deductions for the purchase of an electric car or hybrid electric car or electric bicycle.

Bausch said that these would be replaced with new financial incentives in the form of a bonus.