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

    These Sneakers Are Your Free Transit Pass

    A new BVG-Adidas collaboration means unlimited travel along Berlin’s public transit network for the rest of 2018. That is if you can find a pair.

  2. A small accessory dwelling unit—known as an ADU—is attached to an older single-family home in a Portland, Oregon, neighborhood.
    Design

    The Granny Flats Are Coming

    A new book argues that the U.S. is about to see more accessory dwelling units and guides homeowners on how to design and build them.

  3. Environment

    Britain's Next Megaproject: A Coast-to-Coast Forest

    The plan is for 50 million new trees to repopulate one of the least wooded parts of the country—and offer a natural escape from several cities in the north.

  4. Transportation

    On Paris Metro, Drug Abuse Reaches a Boiling Point

    The transit workers’ union says some stations on Line 12 are too dangerous to stop at. What will the city do?

  5. Equity

    How Today's Developers Maintain Jim Crow Housing Segregation

    A private Brooklyn developer and a Louisiana public housing authority share the belief that racial division in housing has its plusses.