3 July 2019

Free public transport in ICLEI Member Cities encourages more environmentally-friendly trips

In response to concerns regarding air quality, last week, ICLEI Member Strasbourg (France) made bus and tram transport free.

The city had put in place a “Pic de pollution” ticket at reduced fees in support of improved air quality and pollution reduction. Exceptional weather conditions this past weekend prompted Strasbourg’s Mayor – who is also the Vice President of the Eurométropole de Strasbourg in charge of transport – to go so far as to make urban public transport free for several days. This aimed to encourage residents and visitors not to use private vehicles, but rather to take advantage of more environmentally-friendly public options.

The city hopes that this move will not only reduce pollution by lessening private vehicle trips, but will also raise awareness of the issue of local pollution.

Strasbourg businesses had previously worked with the city to instate free transport on Saturday, 29 June, in support of sales being held in local businesses. Once it was clear that a heat wave would make weather conditions in the city exceptionally difficult on other days as well, the city announced that free transport would be offered on additional days too. Citizen-led groups in the city had been urging the city to put measures into place that would deter private vehicle use in the name of improving air quality and lessening pollution.

Free public transport has been adopted by many cities. ICLEI Member Dunkirk (France) has run free public buses since September 2018. This has been a success – nine months after the system was put into place, the city has seen a 140 percent increase in bus use on weekends, and a 70 percent increase on weekdays. Outside of France, ICLEI Members Tallinn (Estonia) and Mariehamn (Finland) both also offer free public transportation.

Learn more about more environmentally-friendly transport options and join the movement to cleaner mobility by joining EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK. For more information, click here.