A few months ago, Luxembourg became the first country in the world in which public transport is free throughout its territory. A commitment in line with the plans of the European Union in terms of sustainable mobility , with which it intends to drastically reduce traffic. But, despite being the first time something like this has been tried on a national scale, there are many cities in the world that have implemented free public transport at some point . In fact, in some there is still no cost to the citizen, something that not only contributes to making these places more ‘green’, but also encourages cheap tourism . These are some of those cities.

Manises, in Spain

Manises, City Council of Manises.

Surprise. In Spain they have an example of free public transport in Manises, a municipality in the province of Valencia and a census of 30,693 inhabitants in 2018.  Almost 15 years ago it began chartering a completely free city bus and, after a four-year break, since 2016 it resumed service for the summer season, which connects the airport with neighboring towns such as the capital, Valencia. Unfortunately, there are no more examples of free public transport in Spain, beyond specific initiatives such as the one orchestrated in various municipalities in mid-September on the occasion of World Car-Free Week .

Tallinn, in Estonia

Tallinn, Estonia.

Tallinn is currently the second largest city that maintains free public transport. With a census of almost half a million people, the Estonian capital was the first in the world to implement the service in 2013 for all its residents in its transport network, although regional buses are excluded from this regime. Elron commuter trains are also free within the city limits.

Voronezh, in Russia

Voronezh, Rusia.

The city that offers free public transportation to the largest number of people is Voronezh, in Russia: with a population of just over one million inhabitants, the service has been operational since 2003. There are free buses every 30 minutes.

Gibraltar

The Rock of Gibraltar.

Since 2011, the British territory of Gibraltar has had a completely free public system for its residents, although the only bus line that costs money is the one that leads to the fence that separates it from Spain.

Hasselt, in Belgium

Hasselt, Belgium.

Hasselt’s case is perhaps one of the most studied on the impact that free public transport can have. This small Belgian city of 72,000 inhabitants implemented it in 1996, achieving an increase of no less than 1,300% in passengers in the following ten years. In 2013, the city council closed the free adult bus service, but passengers under the age of 19 still ride for free.

Ploiesti, in Romania

Ploiesti, Romania.

Ploiesti was the second town in Romania to implement the free public transport service, in 2014. With a population of more than 200,000 inhabitants, it is one of the busiest cities in the country, so the economic effort of the city council has been quite large . To compensate, the benefits of this service are limited to residents of the city with an income of less than 3,000 Romanian lei per month (about 670 euros).

Colomiers, in France

Colomiers, France. The town hall of Colomiers.

And we finish the review with Colomiers, a French town with just 28,000 inhabitants, but which is known worldwide for being the first area in France to offer zero-fare public transport, a service that is still in operation today. In fact, it is one of the oldest towns in the country to implement the free bus pass… no less than in 1971.

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