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indy100 via mapchart.net

Public transport can be very expensive, depending where you live in the world.

But at midnight on 28 February, 2020, one country became the first in the world to make all public transport free for everyone.

Yup, you’ve guessed it (or, in fact, you probably didn’t) the answer is: Luxembourg. But why?

Luxembourg City, the capital of the small Grand Duchy, suffers from some of the worst traffic congestion in the world. It is home to about 110,000 people, but a further 400,000 commute into the city to work. A study suggested that drivers in the capital spent an average of 33 hours in traffic jams in 2016.

So to fix this problem, the government has just made all public transport completely free.

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, so it’s a win-win for everyone.

Several cities have tried similar schemes. Estonia's capital, Tallinn, introduced free public transport in 2013 but only for residents. The northern French city of Dunkirk (population: 200,000) also introduced free travel in 2018.

But the tiny nation of Luxembourg currently stands alone in Europe, and in fact the world, as the only country to offer free public transport nationwide.

Here’s a couple of maps to put that in context. See the small green circle next to France?

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Other countries will likely be keeping an eye on Luxembourg’s bold new policy to see if it works. Because if one thing’s for sure, we could all do to use more public transport and rely less on cars.

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