Lisbon to offer free public transport for young and elderly – Metro US

Lisbon to offer free public transport for young and elderly

FILE PHOTO: A tram is seen in downtown Lisbon
FILE PHOTO: A tram is seen in downtown Lisbon

LISBON (Reuters) – Lisbon will offer free public transport to children, students and elderly residents in a move Mayor Carlos Moedas said was crucial for the Portuguese capital’s fight against climate change.

Moedas said Lisbon was following in the footsteps of other European cities. Estonia’s capital Tallinn and Luxembourg City offer free transport for all residents, while some other cities including London and Paris offer free travel for some children and elderly residents.

Lisbon city council unanimously agreed on Thursday to the plan whereby all residents under the age of 18, students up to the age of 23 and seniors over 65 will enjoy free transport on the subway system, public buses, most rail lines and the yellow trams that criss-cross the city.

The measure will cost Lisbon, with a population of over half a million people, around 15 million euros ($16.28 million) a year and should come into effect by the summer.

Moedas said Lisbon’s move would push the rest of the country to adopt similar measures.

“This is a historic moment. Positioning Lisbon in this Champions League of cities against climate change is essential,” he said, acknowledging that financially it was not yet possible to offer free transport for everyone.

The measure would also help protect the poorest people against soaring fuel prices, he said.

Initially the free travel initiative will only be available to residents of central Lisbon but Moedas said he hopes that, with government help, it can be extended in the future to the entire metropolitan area of the capital, where around 3 million people live, or more than a third of Portugal’s population.

($1 = 0.9217 euros)

(Reporting by Sergio Goncalves; Editing by Nathan Allen and Susan Fenton)

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