Free Transit a Big Hit in Estonian Capital

In January of this year, Tallinn (pop. 423,000) became the first European capital and the largest European city to provide public transit free of charge to its residents. So far, the experiment has proven a success.

In aiming to reduce traffic congestion in the Estonian capital, city leaders decided to increase their subsidy for the city's transit system from 70 percent to 100 percent, at a cost of €12 million. So far, their decision has been rewarded with a 10% rise in usage and a 15% reduction in traffic in the city center.

"In addition to providing mobility to unemployed and low-income residents, free public transport has brought new passenger groups into the city centre in the evenings and weekends. This will boost the local economy, as these residents are likely to spend their free time and money consuming local goods and services."

"To cope with the new demand, Tallinn has invested in 70 new buses and 15 new trams. It has also put into place a series of deterrents to private car use, including expansion of exclusive bus lanes barred for private vehicles and increased parking charges and expanded paid parking area."

"Residents have welcomed the scheme, with a vote revealing 75% of the city’s population supports the initiative."

Learn more about the program on the city's website.

Full Story: Residents enjoy free public transport in Tallinn

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