Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The 400,000 residents of Tallinn, the capital of Estonia and the largest city in the northern European country, can now use the city’s public transportation system at no cost.As of January 1, anyone with a registered Tallinn address can purchase a personalised fare card called a “ühiskaart” that will allow them free use of the city’s networks of buses, trams, and trolleys, Estonian Public Broadcasting reported.
The new policy, which could come at a loss of €12 million per year, is “motivated by environmental and social concerns.”
The city says it will encourage residents to stop driving and use public transportation:
With this step, Tallinn will safeguard social cohesion of local community granting equal mobility opportunities to all social strata. To many car drivers, free public transport will be a major incentive to switch to public transport thus reducing pollution and noise, and, in the long run, will improve living standards of all citizens.
Tallinn Mayor Edgar Savisaar said providing free transit to city-dwellers will make the Estonian capital “the flagship of [the] green movement in Europe,” the BBC reported.
According to the BBC, ticket sales cover only about 33 per cent of the funds needed to run the system. In a 2012 referendum, three quarters of those who voted supported the idea (about 20 per cent of eligible voters participated).
For non-residents, a ticket valid for one hour costs €1.10. A day pass costs €3, and a 30-day pass €23.
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