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French city adopts free public transport policy 'inspired' by Tallinn

Tramm
Tramm Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Montpellier, a city in the south of France, has rolled out a free public transport policy inspired by Tallinn, the city government said.

Tallinn made public transport free for all its residents in 2013.

Montpellier's transport system has been free for its residents on weekends since 2020. It also covers the metropolitan area of Montpellier, which includes the city and 30 surrounding municipalities with nearly half a million inhabitants

A delegation from the city visited Tallinn in May to discuss expanding the system and learn from Estonia's experience.

Montpellier's annual public transport costs, currently at €130 million, similar to Tallinn's costs, are projected to reach €200 million over the next five years.

Mayor Michaël Delafosse said free public transport plays a part in addressing climate change and providing carbon-neutral mobility for all citizens.

"It also fosters a more inclusive society, allowing lower-income groups full participation in the city's life," he said in a press release from Tallinn City Government.

The metropolitan area expects a 20 percent increase in public transport usage, currently at 55-60 million trips annually, driven by infrastructure investments and the availability of free travel.

Visitors and tourists will still have to pay €1.60 a trip, the news agency AFP reported.

To mark the occasion, Tallinn gifted the city's leaders with green cards for public transport, allowing them to travel for free in Estonia's capital.

Tallinn's Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart (Center) said several other French cities are considering adopting similar policies.

"Tallinn has provided free public transport for a decade, initially facing criticism. Over time, given economic and global changes, this initiative has become a universal solution with significant social and environmental impact," the mayor said.

Luxemburg also introduced a similar policy in 2020.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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