Cost of free public transport keeps rising
By Thomas Berthol and Andréa Oldereide
Inflation, higher energy prices and more demand by people with special physical needs are raising the cost of public transportation three years after Luxembourg launched its groundbreaking step to offer the service free, the country's transport minister said.
The country's free public transport scheme will cost taxpayers €800 million this year. Luxembourg became is the world's first country to make all public transport free in March 2020.
“The increase in expenditure is for the most part due to the increase in costs, in this case energy prices and the resulting index tranches” that increased salaries as inflation raised the cost of living, Transport Minister François Bausch told Virgule.
The tram extension and its growing expenses
Operating and expanding Luxembourg city's tram line is predicted to rise to €323.9 million this year, up from €277.4 million in 2022. The increase is partially due to extending the tram’s line beyond Bonnevoie, which was reached last September, into Howald and the Cloche d'Or business district.
Millions spent on buses
Operating the Grand Duchy's bus network is expected to rise from €325 million in 2022 to €366.6 million, a €41 million increase.
The government is currently spending €246.8 million on the Régime Général des Transports Routiers (RGTR), which runs the regional, inter-region buses and school buses with the help of private providers. That is about €32 million more than in 2022.
The increase includes €7 million to install boxes inside RGTR buses that protect drivers from attacks. Last year, two bus drivers received hospital treatment after being attacked by three youths in Bettembourg.
People with special needs have been increasingly demanding transport, increasing the costs needed to run Mobibuses from €37 million to €43.4 million this year. The service transports users from their home to a specialised education or inclusion facility.
Nevertheless, the amount spent to manage the Adapto service has decreased.
Adapto is an individualised mobility service that serves citizens with an irreversible disability or a physical, mental or psychological impairment that severely reduces their mobility. Expenses of €12.4 million to cover Adapto services this year is below the €13.5 million in 2022.
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