From January 2013, Tallinn will be the first European capital to offer free public transport to its citizens. According to The Baltic Times (August 23, 2012), with the new ticketing system the City of Tallinn will lose approximately €14 million in uncollected ticket revenues in 2013. But then the current system of ticket sales is seen as overpriced anyhow and wasteful for the environment.
Street network in Tallinn: 2,012 km
Sidewalks: 923 km
Bicycle paths: 210 km
The long-term environmental benefits to having fewer cars circulating are evident while citizens will also enjoy cleaner air and less noise pollution. Although several small and medium size cities have already converted to the free-fare public transport system, Tallinn is definitely setting an example and opening the way for other European capitals to follow.
Is free public transport enough of an incentive for commuters to shift to public transport? In Tallinn, paper tickets will be abolished and regardless of a person’s place of residence, anyone under 19 will be allowed to ride for free. Users of the public transport who are not residents of Tallinn will have to buy e-tickets or electronic cards.