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Estonia’s capital offers free public transport encouraging drivers to leave cars


Public transport in Estonia’s capital, Tallinn, is now free of charge as of 1 January 2013, as city’s much-debated free travel reform takes effect.

 

21 January - For many car owners, this will be a major incentive to switch to public transport, thus reducing pollution and noise, which in the long run will improve living standards for all citizens. Not only that, but the initiative will also safeguard social cohesion for the local community by granting equal mobility opportunities to all social levels.

 

In a BBC report, Tallinn Mayor Edgar Savisaar highlighted that providing free public transport to city-dwellers will make the Estonian capital "the flagship of [the] green movement in Europe". 

As part of the change, paper tickets and fare cards also went out with the old year, apart from the possibility of buying a ticket from the driver in a pinch; mechanical and electronic ticket validating machines will be uninstalled in the first days of the New Year according to city authorities.

 

Free ridership will require adults to be registered as Tallinn residents.  After that, they must purchase a personalised fare card - the "ühiskaart" - and validate each trip as they enter the vehicle. The fare card is only good when accompanied by valid ID.
 
Pupils and students age 19 and under who are listed in the Population Register as residing in Estonia will also enjoy free public transport.

For non-residents, a one-hour ticket will cost €1.10. A day pass will cost €3, and a 30-day pass €23.

 

So far, 174,000 Tallinners have acquired the new electronic farecards and personalized them to show proof of Tallinn residency. Pensioners, who ride for free even if they aren't Tallinn residents, purchased an additional 49,000 farecards. Tallinn has a population of 420,000.

 

Tallinn ran out of the new farecards soon after January 1, and has ordered a new shipment of 50,000 due to arrive next week, and another 100,000 in the week after.

 

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