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Transportation

One of Europe’s Smallest Nations Tries a Big Idea: Free Public Transit

Since 2020, residents of Luxembourg have been able to ride trains and buses throughout the country without buying tickets. Is the policy paying off?

Luxembourg launched a tram service in 2017 in an effort to get more residents out of their automobiles. 

Luxembourg launched a tram service in 2017 in an effort to get more residents out of their automobiles. 

Photographer: Olivier Matthys/Bloomberg

Sometimes, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg looks so tidy and bucolic that walking down the street feels like strolling through an architect’s rendering.

Along the pristine streets of the tiny state’s capital, Luxembourg City, honey-colored sandstone buildings teeter improbably on the edge of ravines; new office towers full of financial services firms loom nearby. Riding a train out into the countryside prosperous-looking villages appear and disappear in the gaps between narrow, castle-topped valleys and fields of ripening corn.