Despite free public transport, car is still the king of this country's roads

Majority of Luxembourg still hasn't ditched automobile for the free public transport tram
Commuters and cross-border travelers stand aboard a tramway in Luxembourg city. (AFP)
Commuters and cross-border travelers stand aboard a tramway in Luxembourg city.

Luxembourg, a country in Europe, had declared free public transport for its citizens three years ago, yet private cars seem to rule the roads. In order to decongest the roads and reduce pollution, public transport on trains, trams and buses was made free in the nation of just 650,000 people, quite a bold experiment by the country.

And yet, despite its lack of long-distance highways, Luxembourg has one of the highest rates of car ownership in Europe - 681 vehicles per 1,000 residents, with only Poland exceeding the rate. Another interesting fact is that the country has relatively low fuel taxes which draws long-distance drivers often pass by to fill their tanks in a country with low fuel taxes.

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Moreover, cross-border workers bring in tens of thousands more vehicles every day as commuters head to jobs in Luxembourg. "I often say that Germans build cars and Luxembourgers buy them," joked Deputy Prime Minister Francois Bausch, who is in charge of mobility and public works, AFP reported.

And while there is thinning of traffic in the capital three years after ticket offices closed, majority of Luxembourg still hasn't ditched automobile for the tram. "Car culture is truly dominant and it remains pretty tricky to attract motorists onboard public transport," mobility expert Merlin Gillard, of the LISER research institute, told AFP.

Luxembourg, along with the rest of the European Union, is working on transforming itself into a carbon neutral economy by adopting green technologies in transport, energy, factories and farms. Prime Minister Xavier Bettel plans to invest 800 million euros a year ($872 million) in public transport. The country has Europe's highest-funded tram network per capita, costing 500 euros per person each year.

(with inputs from AFP)

First Published Date: 23 Mar 2023, 16:19 PM IST

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