Luxembourg Tram

Free public transit? What situation could make that work?

I can see where free public transit could make sense. I get the point, I think. Not maintaining tickets, ticket checks, and the logistics associated with policing ridership policies could definitely save money . . . a lot of money. We, the HRT Board, just approved a one-year agreement for $55,110 for magnetic paper ticket purchases from a manufacturer. So, there’s that. And “that” doesn’t mention associated personnel, paperwork, administration, etc.

I know there are quite a few legitimate talking points on both sides of this for/against free public transportation debate. I know this could get close to a socialist stance that our country was and is not built on. But I also know that free public transportation could greatly enhance the economy in Hampton Roads. I mean, can you imagine being able to catch a free train from Richmond or Williamsburg to the oceanfront in Virginia Beach or Ocean View in Norfolk? Tourism here would skyrocket. The desire of large corporations to base their operations in Hampton Roads would grow.

By no means am I ready to vote on a change like this. But I do believe it’s time for the conversation.

Luxembourg Becomes First Country to Make All Public Transit Free

Luxembourg is set to become the world’s first country to make all of its public transportation free. The newly re-elected prime minister Xavier Bettel and the coalition government have announced that they will lift all fares on trains, trams and buses next summer. Taking aim at long commutes and the country’s carbon footprint, the new move hopes to alleviate some of the worst traffic congestion in the world.

Landlocked by Belgium, Germany and France, Luxembourg has more than 400,000 commuters travelling in to work from neighboring countries. This year, Luxembourg started offering free transportation to everyone under the age of 20. Secondary school students have also been able to ride free shuttles between school and home. Luxembourg currently has the highest number of cars for its population in the European Union.

As The Guardian reports, a decision has yet to be taken on what to do about first and second-class compartments on trains. Commuters now pay €2 for up to two hours of travel, which covers almost all trips in the small country. The governing coalition said it planned to overhaul tax breaks for commuters, a benefit that has been available based on the distance traveled. Beginning in 2020, all tickets will be abolished to save on the collection of fares and the policing of ticket purchases. source: archdaily.com

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Disclosure: Keith Parnell is the Norfolk Commissioner to the Transportation District Commission of Hampton Roads, the Governing Board of Hampton Roads Transit.
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I’m listening to I’m Free by Gramatik right now.
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