Free Public Transit a Hit in Tallinn, Estonia

Photo by donkeroranje

Photo by donkeroranje

Planetzine is reporting that Tallinn’s experiment with free public transit is proving to be a success. The City of Tallinn decided to make transit free to reduce the number of cars in the centre. Council examined imposing a congestion charge or building more roads, however it was decided that making transit free would benefit the most residents. It is estimated to cost the City €12 million a year.  The decisions seems to be an excellent compromise in a small city, such as Tallinn, where enticing residents to shop and work in the centre can be a challenge.

Happily, Eurocities reports that the project is proving to be successful since its implementation January 1st. A longer period is definitely required before making a definitive judgement, however initial reports show that ridership has increased by 10% while traffic in city centre has reduced by 15%. If the decline is maintained, the results are comparable to London’s implementation of the congestion charge, which decreased congestion by about 15%. In order to cope with the increased ridership the City is buying 70 new buses and 15 new trams. The project is supported by 75% of the city’s residents.

For more details take a look video below from the City of Tallinn.

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