Sparsely populated areas will have free public transport

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Free public transport will be introduced in sparsely populated areas, the government decided July 6.

It is planned that public transport services will be provided free of charge on approximately 20 regional routes in all regions, with the exception of the Rīga region.

The Road Transport Directorate has identified potential free routes, but they could change, taking into account current data and assessing the quantitative indicators of the criteria. Eligible areas would be those which have less than 4 inhabitants per square kilometer and public transport services are not available more than 6 times a day.

The introduction of such free transportation is being implemented for the first time. It is planned that the first free journeys would already be implemented in autumn.

"In areas with low population density, revenues from tickets sold in public transport are low and public transport is primarily a social function. In order to increase the availability of public transport and to facilitate the movement of people with regional bus routes, it is planned to introduce free public transport in such areas,” explained Transport Minister Tālis Linkaits.

Free public transport in sparsely populated areas is covered by the “Public Transport Concept for 2021-2030”, the main objective of which is to promote the transfer of passengers from private cars to competitive, integrated and convenient public transport.

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