Free-costs and positive environmental impacts: 5 cities doing public transport right
From Estonia to Vienna and Dunkirk, we’ve gathered up the best, most-accessible places to hop on a train when you’re travelling
image Social Income
words Hannah Bertolino
From high prices to crowded, stuffy tube cars, and late busses – London’s transport system seems to be a constant source of stress for those trying to navigate their way around the city. In fact, a survey run for the YouGov-Cambridge Globalism Project revealed that 23% of people in Great Britain are using their cars more post-lockdown, resulting in over half of harmful, transport-based carbon dioxide emissions coming from car usage. Meanwhile, coupled with rising fuel and energy prices, we can’t blame people for not being excited to travel.
Luckily, however, it does seem that cities around the world are taking note. From Estonia to Malta, and Luxembourg – over 100 destinations across Europe have abolished fees for transport, opening up the door for accessible travel. So – whether you’re planning your next summer holiday or simply a Francis Bourgeois-style train-spotting superfan – we’ve broken down five places doing transport right.
While the push for more accessible transport has increased since COVID, Vienna has offered passes for unlimited transport access for an annual fee of €365 (only one euro per day!) since 2012. Today, nearly half of the city’s two million-person population has one – with 38% of all journeys made my public transportation and 27% made by walking.
Tallinn, Estonia’s capital city on the Baltic Sea, has offered free public transport since 2013 – making it the largest city, and first capital in Europe to scrap transport fees. To purchase, people from Tallinn or those visiting can buy a personalised “green card” which allows them to travel place-to-place at zero-costs.
Okay, sure… this one hasn’t exactly started yet, but bear with us! On October 1, 2022, Malta will officially become the second country in the world to make its public transport system free for all residents. Hoping to encourage people to use public transport and reduce congestion on the roads, the country’s former prime minister even claimed that one day, he’d like commuters to be paid for using public transport.
Looking to visit the sets from Harry Styles’ 2017 action drama? You’re in luck! After testing it out in 2019, the Northern French city has offered a new, cost-free bus system, hoping to revitalise the city centre and help out the environment.
In 2020, Luxembourg became the first country in the world to offer public transport completely free-of-cost. According to research, over 10,000 more people have started using public transport each day since the switch… we love to see it.