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Frequently asked questions
Free public transport from 1 March 2020 – The social icing on the cake of the innovative multimodal transport strategy in Luxembourg.
How did the scheme come about?

Free public transport for everyone featured in the manifestos of all three parties which formed the new government in October 2018. So the scheme was included in the government programme and is now being implemented.

What additional expenditure will there be for the Government as a result of its loss of revenue?

Currently, the annual revenue from ticket sales in Luxembourg is 41 million euros. That is around 8% of the annual costs, which are over 500 million euros at the moment. So we will no longer have this revenue as of 2020. Considering the money that is being invested in other areas such as infrastructure, this amount is rather minimal and makes it easier for Luxembourg to implement the measure than other countries. The loss of revenue has been taken into account in the national budget and, like all other services, will be financed by taxes.

What happens if the country’s economic situation deteriorates, will it call the scheme into question?

If the state’s financial resources diminish, this would lead to a general discussion about how to spend the budget anyway. But in that case we can assume that investment in mobility won’t be cut.

Why weren’t stops and stations in France, Germany and Belgium that are close to the border included in the national fare zone?

Since free travel is limited to Luxembourg’s public transport network, the RegioZone fare will be payable from the border crossing point from 1 March 2020, even if the border point is only a very short distance away from Luxembourg. But this “extreme” would always exist regardless of where a (more or less arbitrary) artificial boundary might be drawn. An extension to stops in the border area has been ruled out in principle, with the exception of train rides from one of three stations operated by the CFL, Audun-le-Tiche (F), Athus (B) and Volmerange-les-Mines (F).

How will a possible increase in passenger numbers be measured?

Passengers are already being counted electronically on a monthly basis on the trams. This is not the case nationwide on the buses or trains at the moment but new rolling stock and vehicles will be digitally equipped to make it possible to count passengers over the next few years.

Snapshots (for instance 8 am yesterday compared to 8 am today) are unreliable as so many different factors play a role: weather, traffic jams, cancelled trains coming in from abroad, etc.

Annual global monitoring is planned (this is next scheduled for March 2021).

What duties will train staff have to perform in future if they no longer have to check tickets?

The duties of train attendants and conductors will be adjusted and extended with respect to order and safety on trains, trams and buses to guarantee better service and flow of information.

This will also apply to staff who are involved with sales. Tickets will still be sold at the CFL counters at the central station in Luxembourg City and Esch/Belval.  Eight smaller train ticket offices will be closed; two others will be operated by third-party providers. If a counter closes at a station there will still be a member of CFL staff available to give advice.

How will respect for the rolling stock and vehicles (buses, trains and trams) be ensured if transport is free?

The Ministry of Mobility and Public Works has reviewed the legislation for the appropriate behaviour of users on public transport and adapted it (terms and conditions, penalties, etc.). The rules concerning order and safety on public transport serve, in particular, to ban unlawful users from accessing or using public transport in order to counteract abuse. Every passenger must be able to produce a valid personal ID card or passport and may be banned from public transport at any time. Tougher sanctions in the event of abuse and the deployment of police officers on public transport are also being considered.

What will mKaart be used for after 1 March 2020?

It will still be possible to pay for first-class tickets and train and bus journeys in the border area using mKaart. There will also be other transport services such as access to Belval P+R and all of the other future P+R facilities, mBox (secure bicycle boxes) and Chargy charging points for electric cars. Furthermore, mKaart will also be used for the Flex car sharing service, and the Vël’OK bike hire scheme in the south of the country.

What about priority and disability cards?

Priority and invalidity cards remain valid. They will no longer give access to the Adapto service, but all the other advantages of the cards remain.

What were the motives behind the project?

The project is primarily a dual social measure, which on the one hand means more money in the wallets of low earners and on the other hand, the burden is shouldered by those who are better off because it is funded by taxpayers’ money.

Does Luxembourg have the means to afford such a scheme better than others because it is a small country?

Luxembourg is certainly more like a large conurbation in terms of its geographical size. That does make the decision-making process for distributing funds simply amongst the people or investing it sensibly a bit easier.

How will the scheme affect cross-border commuters?

With regard to the effects of this scheme on cross-border transport, fares have been reduced after discussions with the neighbouring transport networks SNCB, DB and SNCF. “RegioZone” fares will also be reduced on the RGTR bus network. Therefore, cross-border commuters should also benefit from the new scheme as well as residents.

Won’t cross-border commuters fill border villages up with their parked cars in order to be able to continue their journeys from there for free?

We will monitor the situation and appraise it after a year, so in March 2021. The local authorities will also take dissuasive measures such as residents’ parking spaces. This already happens as prices in Luxembourg have always been very low.

The transport system is already congested, what will happen when even more users come on board?

We anticipate that mobility needs will increase by 20% by 2025. We should be able to cope with this increase by continuously expanding public transport. For example, in December trams will go as far as the central train station, the regional bus network will be completely reformed by 2021 and will be the densest in Europe. All of these improvements will motivate people to switch to public transport.

Why was first-class accommodation kept on the trains?

The different classes (first class and second class) on the trains will be kept. The aim is to continue offering the majority of first-class passengers the level of service that they want. First-class travel will continue to be charged (the current annual fare is €660, or €75 a month) and the infrastructure, i.e. the different carriages, will be maintained. This also applies to cross-border season tickets.

What will happen to the ticket machines?

The ticket machines / ticket stamping machines will remain at the train stations and what they offer will be expanded. The machines that have been installed on the tram route will be dismantled after the middle of March.

Will unused tickets be refunded?

There are no plans to refund unused tickets.