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One year of free public transport in Tallinn (Estonia)

By Lewis Macdonald / Updated: 01 Aug 2014
After a year of operating free public transport for residents of the city, Tallinn has presented the results and reaffirmed its commitment to the new system.
Estonia's capital Tallinn presented the results of a year of free public transport for its citizens at the annual POLIS conference in Brussels (Belgium) in December 2013. The reasons for switching to free public transport for Tallinn residents were numerous, including guaranteeing mobility for unemployed and low income residents, stimulating economic activity, and decreasing the modal share of private motorised transport.

The loss of revenue from fares is made up by municipal revenues from personal income tax, as people are encouraged to register their residence in Tallinn in order to be eligible for free public transport. Since April 2012 the registered population of Tallinn grew by 13 000. People registered with the system receive a card that can be used interchangeably on the city's buses, trams and electric trains.

The operating cost of this ticketing system is much lower than the old system and helps to simplify the collection of public transportation usage data, so that the public transportation network can be optimised. As the number of cards issued has grown, the number of journeys has increased accordingly. Tallinn's model is being studied and emulated by other cities in Poland and Lithuania, as well as in China.

For more information, click here.

Photo: marten vaher, Flickr
Collective passenger transport
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