Luxembourg’s Public Transport Fight-Back Against Private MaaS Operators

Luxembourg has thrown down the gauntlet to private mobility-as-a-service providers by making all its public transport free of charge.

The move effectively negates most of the incentives for commuting consumers to use any other form of paid-for transportation in urban areas well served by public buses, trams and trains. Should other European countries or cities follow suit, the move could kill-off private operators of ride-hailing and car-sharing services in the urban environment.

As reported in The Guardian UK newspaper, Luxembourg commuters will see fares on all forms of public transport lifted in summer 2019 under the plans of the freshly re-elected coalition government. The scheme will see authorities making savings on the costs of issuing tickets, collection of fares and fare enforcement procedures. No decision has yet been made on whether there will still be a charge between standard and first-class train carriage travel.

It is claimed that Luxembourg City, capital of the Grand Duchy, suffers from some of the worst traffic congestion in the world. While just 110,000 live inside the city, about 400,000 are believed to commute in for work each weekday and one 2016 study suggested drivers in the capital spent an average of 33 hours in traffic jams.

The nation’s move comes on the back of free transport for every child and young person under the age of 20 from summer 2018 and high school students can use free shuttles between their institution and their homes. Currently commuters need only pay €2 ($2.27) for up to two hours of travel which, in a country of just 999 square miles, covers most journeys.

With that in mind, and that an estimated 200,000 commuters travel in from the neighboring countries of Belgium, France and Germany, it’s far from certain the scheme will have the major reduction on city congestion that the government is hoping.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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