Is free public transport in Luxembourg a milestone?
Public transport in Luxembourg has been free of charge since the beginning of March. With this step the country hopes to convince its citizens - many of whom are car lovers - to use buses, trains and trams instead. But the media are less than enthusiastic and criticise the government's self-congratulatory attitude.
Policy just a PR gag
Tageblatt dislikes the fact that the measure is being touted as a major social policy development:
“Such a policy may well make sense in other countries: in Paris, where a daily ticket for the entire public transport network costs more than 15 euros, abolishing tickets could be a big break for many poorer households. In Luxembourg, however, tickets are already so cheap that this argument hardly holds. ... The measure would only be effective in conjunction with other steps: securing affordable housing and expanding public transport would be changes that deserve the title of the effective social policy. ... The measure is bearing fruit - not in terms of social policy, but at least as a PR gag.”
Let's not make too much of this
As positive as the move is, introducing free public transport isn't exactly a world-changing event, Le Quotidien comments:
“The decision was hailed internationally - including by Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Comparing it with the first step on the moon, the invention of the wheel or the first circumnavigation of the earth, however, goes too far. ... The road ahead is long, and a huge amount of persuasion will be needed - particularly since the Luxembourgers love their cars. But at least the advertsing campaign will prompt much of society to think seriously about the advantages and disadvantages of more sustainable mobility.”