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. Passengers line up for a bullet train at a platform in Tokyo Station.
    Transportation

    The Amazing Psychology of Japanese Train Stations

    The nation’s famed mastery of rail travel has been aided by some subtle behavioral tricks.

  2. POV

    What Surfers Understand About Gentrification

    When it comes to waves, newcomers are not wanted.

  3. Transportation

    Why New York City Stopped Building Subways

    Nearly 80 years ago, a construction standstill derailed the subway’s progress, leading to its present crisis. This is the story, decade by decade.

  4. Equity

    What Is Loitering, Really?

    America’s laws against lingering have roots in Medieval and Elizabethan England. Since 1342, the goal has always been to keep anyone “out of place” away.

  5. A detail from a 1942 British Mandate map of Haifa, now a city in Israel.
    Maps

    Mapping Palestine Before Israel

    A new open-source project uses British historical maps to reveal what Palestine looked like before 1948.