REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

Tallinn's mayor wants it to be the flagship of Europe's green movement. 

Tallinn, Estonia, looks set to become the first European capital with a completely free public transportation system. As the BBC reports, Tallinn Mayor Edgar Savisaar wants his city of 416,000 to be "the flagship of the green movement in Europe." By providing free public transit for locals (visitors would still pay), city government believes car usage will decrease enough to make it worthwhile.

Seventy-five percent of referendum voters supported the free rides program, which is slated to begin in 2013.

It remains unclear how the city will pay for this, however. One-third of Tallinn's mass transit funding comes from ticket revenue. Increased ridership combined with decreasing revenue is often a good recipe for lower quality service, a result that could easily have the opposite effect: pushing residents back into their cars. 

Many smaller European towns provide free public transit for citizens. France has 12 different municipalities that do not charge for mass transit. Türi, Estonia (58 miles south of Tallinn) also has a free transit system. Some American cities also provide public transportation free of charge, with Vero Beach, Florida, the largest of them. 

Currently, Tallinn has a flat-fare system, costing passengers €1.60.

Photo credit: Reuters

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Design

    'Game of Thrones' Tourists Are Besieging Dubrovnik

    The medieval city in Croatia is having a geek-culture moment as the setting for King’s Landing in the HBO series (not to mention the new Star Wars movie). But not everyone appreciates all the attention.

  2. Equity

    The Working Class That Wasn't

    The most common jobs for workers without college degrees have never been industrial.

  3. Environment

    The Story of the Great Lakes in 8 Maps

    The book Third Coast Atlas seeks to illuminate the Great Lakes—America’s “third coast”—through maps, plans, photos, and more.

  4. Life

    How A Bid for Amazon HQ2 Got Tangled Up in a Fight for LGBTQ Rights

    Georgia’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act has been stalled for four years amid fears it will deter economic investment. Will Amazon finally kill it?

  5. Design

    The House of the Future Is Elevated

    We can build homes to sit above flood waters so people can ride out the Harveys of the future, but it won’t be easy or cheap.