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Free public transport for all


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Luxembourg to become first country to make all public transport free

 
 
 

General view of the city of Luxembourg  Luxembourg City suffers from some of the worst traffic congestion in the world. Photograph: Eric Vidal/Reuters

Luxembourg is set to become the first country in the world to make all its public transport free.

Fares on trains, trams and buses will be lifted next summer under the plans of the re-elected coalition government led by Xavier Bettel, who was sworn in for a second term as prime minister on Wednesday.

Bettel, whose Democratic party will form a government with the leftwing Socialist Workers’ party and the Greens, had vowed to prioritise the environment during the recent election campaign.

On top of the transport pledge, the new government is also considering legalising cannabis, and introducing two new public holidays.

 

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.

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.

Luxembourg has increasingly shown a progressive attitude to transport. This summer, the government brought in free transport for every child and young person under the age of 20. Secondary school students can use free shuttles between their institution and their home. Commuters need only pay €2 (£1.78) for up to two hours of travel, which in a country of just 999 sq miles (2,590 sq km) covers almost all journeys.

Now, from the start of 2020 all tickets will be abolished, saving on the collection of fares and the policing of ticket purchases.

The policy is yet to be fully thought through, however. A decision has yet to be taken on what to do about first- and second-class compartments on trains.

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22 minutes ago, Kzoo said:

That sounds rather....... well........ socialistic.

Just like free police and fire departments, free military, etc.

I have never had free needles, btw, but I can pick up free triple-thick condoms at a few places, should I want to.

Anyway, with mobility comes commerce.  You make it easy for people to flow around, and flow they will, to bars, restaurants, all kinds of craziness.  Good for business, you see.

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6 minutes ago, Randomguy said:

You make it easy for people to flow around, and flow they will, to bars, restaurants, all kinds of craziness.  Good for business, you see.

That sounds rather........ well...... capitalistic.           Except for the free part.

Nothing is free except to those that think it's a great idea to spend someone else's money.

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17 minutes ago, Kzoo said:

That sounds rather........ well...... capitalistic.           Except for the free part.

Nothing is free except to those that think it's a great idea to spend someone else's money.

It is, and it makes sense, depending.  It has to be a place like a big city, screw everybody else where the costs outweigh the advantages.  You need lots of people who need to be mobile and lots of business.

In NYC, you have lots of people and the businesses.  The subway and the buses cost $3 a ride.  What that means is that if your neighborhood doesn't have something you particularly want or need, you have to go someplace to get it.  If you have to make multiple stops, that can be bunches of money.

You have to be a special kind of stupid to have a car here, so you just can't drive because you give up a parking spot to go search for a parking spot somewhere else with no lock on getting another parking spot when you are done.

Your bike is gonna get stolen, cabs are expensive, so you stay in or wait to combine trips.  It does keep you from exploring if you are on the fence, so no new commerce.

So what is the secret?  If it was free, you could go whenever, and you will get hungry or thirsty or want to go to a museum or movie or live event or see something that you will spend money on.  

Anyway, the best thing to do here is get an unlimited subway/bus pass for about $130 a month, then you don't particularly care how many stops you make, you just do it.  

If you can't do the public transit thing for free for everybody, one price for everything/everybody makes too much sense (like healthcare) unless you are an idiot.

Capitalism is great, but we don't really have it, we have too many socialistic elements in our system.  Again, the free fire department, free police response, free military protection, free prison system, etc.  We all pay, and we all assume the benefits outweigh the costs from a societal standpoint.  Those elements sure ain't capitalism in action, that is for sure.

 

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It would be interesting to see how much free and safe public transportation would cost vs the benefits of reduced private gasoline consumption, car buying and maintenance, road maintenance and need for expansion etc.

At one point my sister tried going to work by using the new train system that passed a block away from her home instead of driving.  The problem was that she had to walk through six blocks of bad neighborhoods to get to Johns Hopkins Hospital.  Within a couple months she had had a few scary experience and began driving again.

Large European cities are much safer than American cities and such a free program is likely to succeed there better because most people would use the system at one time or another.  The many Americans who would be too scared to regularly use American public transit - as people's behavior in the USA has degraded severely since over the past two generations, would rightly complain that their taxes are subsidizing those who do use the system.

 

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24 minutes ago, Randomguy said:

You have to be a special kind of stupid to ________________________

Fill in the blank with your favorite (or least favorite) NYC thing.

We're talking about Luxembourg City.  The world doesn't revolve around NYC (sorry).

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32 minutes ago, No One said:

...the whole fucking country is 998 square miles in area.  They should just buy everyone a bike.

 

Not even. Luxembourg City, not the country.  19.87 Sq mils and only 107,247 residents.  Buy them all free condoms, free needles and free buses.

 

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47 minutes ago, Kzoo said:

That sounds rather........ well...... capitalistic.           Except for the free part.

Nothing is free except to those that think it's a great idea to spend someone else's money.

Your premise is flawed.

Civilisation ain't free. But you can always move to a place where nobody takes your money...

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3 minutes ago, late said:

Your premise is flawed.

Civilisation ain't free. But you can always move to a place where nobody takes your money...

And you're under the assumption that I thought any of this through to start with.

 

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34 minutes ago, Randomguy said:

Your bike is gonna get stolen

...there are bikes that are "theft resistant" due to either ugliness or age.  Like me, for example. Nobody in his right mind is gonna steal me. :)  I commuted for about three years in Merced on a purple ladies three speed Schwinn.  The one time a thief hit the bike rack, he took a couple of bikes. Mine was the only one left.

I'm thinking of starting a GoFundMe page to get you a ladies three speed Schwinn.

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Our city has moved to a 'day pass' preference for their system. $4 you ride anywhere, anytime, as much as you want for the day. 

After the driver's strike, the transportation authority gave no fee bus rides for a month. The bus service was very popular for that month. The bus drivers were also exhausted at the end of every day.

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8 minutes ago, donkpow said:

Our city has moved to a 'day pass' preference for their system. $4 you ride anywhere, anytime, as much as you want for the day. 

After the driver's strike, the transportation authority gave no fee bus rides for a month. The bus service was very popular for that month. The bus drivers were also exhausted at the end of every day.

 

Everybody likes free so long as it's not them who have to pay for it.

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1 hour ago, MickinMD said:

 

 The many Americans who would be too scared to regularly use American public transit - as people's behavior in the USA has degraded severely since over the past two generations, would rightly complain that their taxes are subsidizing those who do use the system.

 

Isn't the opposite also true?

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2 hours ago, Kzoo said:

The world doesn't revolve around NYC (sorry).

Sure it does, this country at least.  Anyway, it is a good example for this topic because of small size, large captive population mostly dependent on public transport, huge economic engine, all the pieces are there to compare to other public transport systems around the world.  I would say lots of those countries are doing it better than we are, too, so it pays to look around at the world and see the myriad ways some countries are clearly better at things than we are.

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1 hour ago, Randomguy said:

Sure it does, this country at least.  Anyway, it is a good example for this topic because of small size, large captive population mostly dependent on public transport, huge economic engine, all the pieces are there to compare to other public transport systems around the world.  I would say lots of those countries are doing it better than we are, too, so it pays to look around at the world and see the myriad ways some countries are clearly better at things than we are.

...somebody better start doing the designs for snorkels on those subway trains in Manhattan.  Just sayin'. :)

 

 

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3 hours ago, Randomguy said:

Sure it does, this country at least.  Anyway, it is a good example for this topic because of small size, large captive population mostly dependent on public transport, huge economic engine, all the pieces are there to compare to other public transport systems around the world.  I would say lots of those countries are doing it better than we are, too, so it pays to look around at the world and see the myriad ways some countries are clearly better at things than we are.

Our city transit train system is probably one of the very few city train transit systems left in North America, where you can ride a downtown section......for free.  That section comprises of 5 stops or approx. 4 km. long then it continues on in paid fare zones to other parts of the city. 

So yes, I use it often for....free, especially in winter when too icy/snowy/too cold for cycling,  because I live in the free zone.  One day it's not going to be free. But that might be far off in distance in our city because we are in an economic recession locally...for past 2.5 yrs.  

I agree "free" municipal services, is NEVER free.  Taxpayer dollars plus for the latter: add-on provincial/state or federal funding for building new train lines/stations.  I don't know why drivers bitch about their tax dollars funding local transit....otherwise they will be dealing with more road congestion locally, they can't plan the future for weaning teenagers and adult children away from borrowing/asking for a car all the time (assuming home is close to transit).

All of my 5 siblings each chose (with 3 married) their homes, within 15 min. of a bus stop or subway/transit train in Metro Toronto.  They live in totally different directions/areas of the city.  Some of these siblings do have a car also but they don't use their car every day. I come from a family accustomed to taking transit.

We grew up in a family where our parents consciously searched and bought a home always, always within 15 min. or less from a bus stop or subway/train station.  And the value of each home, increased approx. $50,000 or more, by the time they sold, not just because of market conditions, but also because of location, location, location...walkable within a few min. to transit.   In any growing big city, that is a big plus from the standpoint of home investment dollars and marketability.

Ever since I was 10 yrs. old, I've had the experience of taking transit bus and later as an adult when I moved to Toronto, then London ON,  Toronto, Vancouver and now present city it has been the subway/bus.  Prior to 10 yrs. old, we were so poor (in Ontario) my family didn't have a car. So we walked...but then we lived right in the downtown core..close to a lot of stuff.

So dearie went to visit his adult daughter in suburbs.  She lives near transit, doesn't have a car.  He went there by transit because cycling would have meant cycling in the evening in dark/rain for 20 km. in  some (old growth rainforest) forested areas and dark squirrely paths, multiple road traffic intersections and hills.  We don't have car.  No problem.  By the way, she's never lectured/asked her father for getting a car for ourselves or anything like that.

 

 

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17 hours ago, maddmaxx said:

 

Everybody likes free so long as it's not them who have to pay for it.

Like those roads you drive on...

Or your VA...

Having lived in a country with a good public transport, it's a public good that is well worth the cost.

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In Scotland people over sixty-five travel free on buses and even on train services in my region.

I use "free" advisedly as of course this is paid for through public taxes. Many of the bus routes are maintained only because of their use by the over 65's so this is seen as a good thing. There was a time where I went everywhere I could by bike and I resorted to using my car when I couldn't manage this, but now I'm using the bus more often.

If this sounds a bit smug it's because I am. :)

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I believe in Utopia !!!

I just don't believe it is Utopia for everyone, some poor sucker is giving more than he gets, so some other sucker can get more than he gives.

But it sure sounds nice.

Free transportation might pay for itself in increased economic activity, and the better quality of life might make it worth paying for to the taxpayers. 

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32 minutes ago, Further said:

I believe in Utopia !!!

I just don't believe it is Utopia for everyone, some poor sucker is giving more than he gets, so some other sucker can get more than he gives.

But it sure sounds nice.

Free transportation might pay for itself in increased economic activity, and the better quality of life might make it worth paying for to the taxpayers. 

From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.

I need free bus rides.

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I think one of the reasons which probably is lost in history, is we have a downtown that is too quiet for a city our size.  Making the train zone free, sorta helps.  

In our city for residents if you're low income you can apply for discount which is quite good. Unfortunately it's just bleeding the transit's capital budget.

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12 hours ago, Chris... said:

Those riots in France are because the government is trying to raise more money to pay for all of the free stuff

The riots in France are caused by the Government giving the rich massive tax-breaks while grinding down the ordinary citizens who are struggling. The French, unlike the British and the Yanks who will just moan and whinge, will take to the streets and make their voices heard.

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48 minutes ago, onbike1939 said:

The riots in France are caused by the Government giving the rich massive tax-breaks while grinding down the ordinary citizens who are struggling. The French, unlike the British and the Yanks who will just moan and whinge, will take to the streets and make their voices heard.

My step daughters grew up in Greece, both went to school there.  I'd regularly ask when they would graduate, they had no idea.  It depended if the students were striking, possibly throwing the desks out the university windows, usually just protesting.  I think we stopped protesting in the 70s.

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52 minutes ago, onbike1939 said:

The riots in France are caused by the Government giving the rich massive tax-breaks while grinding down the ordinary citizens who are struggling. The French, unlike the British and the Yanks who will just moan and whinge, will take to the streets and make their voices heard.

You don’t remember the poll tax riots?

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The tax rates for France on income, shown below, and sales tax is about 20%.  Lets ponder this a moment.  They have free healthcare, as healthcare is a right.  Healthcare would cost me well over half my income and that doesn't even include the co-pays or deductible.   Here in the U.S.A. health care is a privilege for the rich.  Middle class would pay about 50% in taxes.  It seems to be a wash, when you consider healthcare costs.  I think that all middle classes are being tightly squeezed in most places, as income inequality increases and wages continue to stagnate.  My last raise was less than 1%.  That was called a COLA.  My healthcare costs rose more than that.  That doesn't even consider the rising costs of food and everything else.  We should be rioting too.

2017 Rates per household unit
Income per Unit Rate
Below €9,700 0%
From €9,711 to €26,818 14%
From €26,818 to €71,898 30%
From €71,898 to €152,260 41%
Beyond €152,260 45%
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The good thing about the national ruckus in the US over Obama's attempt to make health care more affordable...was it was a serious wake-up call for some Canadians who took our own health care system and its benefits for granted.

The global accounting firms offer some free tools for estimating personal taxable rates (I was a tax research librarian once upon a time.)

For Canada 2018, I have given some personal taxable annual income scenarios in Canadian dollars.  This is a tool offered for free by Pricewaterhousecoopers.  The other big firms offer their free equivalents.

https://www.pwc.com/ca/en/services/tax/personal-tax/calculator.html

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3 minutes ago, shootingstar said:

The good thing about the national ruckus in the US over Obama's attempt to make health care more affordable...was it was a serious wake-up call for some Canadians who took our own health care system and its benefits for granted.

The global accounting firms offer some free tools for estimating personal taxable rates (I was a tax research librarian once upon a time.)

For Canada 2018, I have given some personal taxable annual income scenarios in Canadian dollars.  This is a tool offered for free by Pricewaterhousecoopers.  The other big firms offer their free equivalents.

https://www.pwc.com/ca/en/services/tax/personal-tax/calculator.html

 

Business stuff puts me in a coma. I literally can't focus on it. We have a friend who is very high powered in her little corner of the business world, and when she talks, it's like adults talking in a Charlie Brown show..

 

So, if you wouldn't mind, could you explain what that means?

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Transit is a creature at least in Canada is funded in different ways.  But at the most basic level, a large chunk is from the municipal property taxes first and then depending on scale of the system, sometimes there are arrangements from the province and federal ...latter tends to be for building new / one-time capital funding for a whole new fleet of trains/buses, major retrofit at stations,etc.

Not sure about the U.S., but when Canadians file their personal income tax annually, it's submitted to the federal tax authority.  The total funds get reworked and then there are transfer payments from federal to province for …..ie. health care in each province.  The province decides their models of health care and how to allocate funds within certain boundaries.  There is federal plus provincial legislation in each 10 provinces and 3 territories on how the funds must be administered but federally there is legislation to give it universality of health care....no matter where you live in Canada.

It  disgusts me that Albertans whine about oil and energy royalties and transfer payments to the federal govn't  How stupid and naïve they are.  The health care they get....is from the federal govn't giving Alberta money to administer the provincial health care that they benefit. 

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6 hours ago, Chris... said:

You don’t remember the poll tax riots?

I do.....and I also remember that they were imposed upon Scotland first because there was no Tory support in Scotland. The French are much more ready to take to the streets in protest and have a long history of anti-authoritarianism.......blame the French revolution.

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6 hours ago, Dirtyhip said:

The tax rates for France on income, shown below, and sales tax is about 20%.  Lets ponder this a moment.  They have free healthcare, as healthcare is a right.  Healthcare would cost me well over half my income and that doesn't even include the co-pays or deductible.   Here in the U.S.A. health care is a privilege for the rich.  Middle class would pay about 50% in taxes.  It seems to be a wash, when you consider healthcare costs.  I think that all middle classes are being tightly squeezed in most places, as income inequality increases and wages continue to stagnate.  My last raise was less than 1%.  That was called a COLA.  My healthcare costs rose more than that.  That doesn't even consider the rising costs of food and everything else.  We should be rioting too.

2017 Rates per household unit
Income per Unit Rate
Below €9,700 0%
From €9,711 to €26,818 14%
From €26,818 to €71,898 30%
From €71,898 to €152,260 41%
Beyond €152,260 45%

Well, of course, health care in France is not free, most of it is paid by Government financed insurance companies  (70%)  paid by taxes, and 30% by the patient. Those who cannot afford to pay even this portion, or have long-term conditions pay nothing. There is a word for health schemes such as this which provide citizens with this security.....and the word is "civilised".

You are right about the deteriorating position of the middle classes in the USA however. In the fifties, it was possible for the wives to stay at home while the husband worked. Not only that but they could afford to own a house and a car and send their kids to college....all on one wage. Compare that to today when some people are required to have two jobs merely to survive.

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