Tallinn is the capital of Estonia and has a population of 435 000. In January 2013 Tallinn became the first EU capital to provide free public transport to its citizens.
To be entitled to freely use public transport in the city, residents have to purchase a €2 ‘green card’, which must be validated upon entry to a public transport vehicle. Visitors and people from outside Tallinn can buy the same card and load it with the amount of money needed to use public transport.
As a result, the use of public transport increased by 6 per cent between 2012 and 2013, while car use decreased by 5 per cent in the centre.
The system also encouraged citizens to register their true place of residence to take advantage of free public transport. Indeed, the number of registered residents increased by almost 14 000 in two years, generating millions of euros in additional personal income tax revenue for the city and so helping to compensate the 12 million euro loss in ticket revenue.
Free public transport was one of several measures to increase the quality of public transport in Tallinn. Indeed, a customer satisfaction survey held in November 2013 confirmed that satisfaction with the quality of service had improved.