Luxembourg’s transportation situation

In Luxembourg according to a research published by in August 2019 three quarters of households own one (45%) or two (30%) cars, furthermore, reveals the statistics that 8% of households own three cars and a further minority (3%) owns four cars or more. In other words, this means one out of ten Luxembourgish households has three or more cars available to use (11%).

Which makes Luxembourg a real car paradise with the highest number of passenger cars per 1000 inhabitants in the EU with 670 cars, with our neighbours scoring far better with Germany having 570 cars, Belgium having 520 cars and France 480 per 1000 inhabitants. To this statistic comes that Luxembourg has the second highest share of passenger cars younger than two years with 29.2%.  

But why is that the case, why do not use public transportation in Luxembourg more often?

When we talk to people about public transportation in Luxembourg, they often say that the connections and times are quite bad and impossible to relay on, so they just use their cars to be more independent. For example, a trip from Mondorff to Luxembourg takes 26 minutes by car but up to two hours by train or a trip form Luxembourg city to Echternach takes 40 minutes by car while the same trip takes one and a quarter hour by bus on weekdays. But longer commutes are not the only problem, people also often argue that buses and especially trains aren’t releable with their timing and often arrive to late at their destination and that the number of buses per line isn’t enough. For example, living in Rameldange means that on Weekends you will only have one bus every two hours.

Well, why is it this way?

There is of course not one single reason, but we can try and simplify it a bit. So, one obvious point is that our public transportation grid is quite outdated. For example, there are bus lines traveling the exact same routes as trains (290 form Luxembourg city to Mersch), all these bus lines should be revaluated and if there is no need for them then cancel them and use the extra resources to strengthen busy lines. The second bog problem is that our road network is already at capacity especially the closer you get to Luxembourg city. As buses use the same roads as cars and as mentioned before we have quite a car problem buses will get stuck in the traffic and delay their arrival by default.

The positive part in our public transportation and road network problem is that the government acknowledges the problem and is setting up solutions. For example are we building parking lots around cities in Luxembourg form where workers can take buses to their workplaces, so they do not drive with their cars inside cities and clogging them up. Then are 2.2 billion Euros spend on building out tramlines and strengthening the rail network to carry more people. The first tram line between Kirchberg and the central station is already constructed which will expand by 2025 to include the airport Findel and the neighbourhoods of Bonevoie, Howald and Cloche d’Or. As well as a line traveling between Esch/Alzette and Luxembourg city. The goal of this is to keep cars out of the city and for the workers to use primarily public transportation from and to work. But even buses driving to cities stop on their edges and there the passengers change to lines driving through cities. Lastly was public transportation made free for everyone in 2019 to promote their use.

All these efforts show their first impacts with the passengers carried by rail rising from 22.5 million in 2015 to 25 million in 2019.The same can be observed on bus lines where inner city travel rose from 12 million passengers in 1938 to 47.7 million in 2015 and outer city travel form 19.7 million in 1990 to 43 million in 2010. Similar numbers can be observed when talking about budget and the number of trains and buses used. For example, rose the budget for CFL from 289.3 million in 1999 to 560.9 million in 2019, while at the same time the number of trains doubled.