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Young and elderly Lisbon residents will be able to ride the iconic city trams for free

Lisbon to offer free public transport to youth and elderly

Lisbon to offer free public transport to youth and elderly

Leading the way in climate change action with socially conscious measures

Yesterday, 3 May, the Lisbon Municipal Assembly approved the proposal to make public transport free to use for young up to the age of 18, higher-education students up to the age of 23 and for elderly residents above the age of 65.

The measure, which is seen as a tool “to combat climate change”, as indicated by the mayor of Lisbon, Carlos Moedas, will have a total annual cost of around 14.9 million euros, and should come into force in the coming months. The City will conclude an agreement with the public transit operator TML, which will extend the provision of free rides for the above-mentioned groups until 31 December 2025.

Social justice and decarbonization

The mayor of Lisbon is a firm advocate of the measure, which he sees as historic and as a way to make the Portuguese capital a model city in the fight against climate change.

"This step is social justice, it is justice for those who want to change the world and who really want to make the world better so that we have a planet we can live on. This measure is also justice in the decarbonization of the planet that we need so much, and this measure is to improve people's lives," he declared, as quoted by Jornal de Negocios.

Despite the mayor’s appeal for unanimity in approving the proposal, the Liberal Initiative (IL) municipal group decided to abstain, criticizing the urgency of voting when there is a "lack of information", including on the budget estimate of 14.9 million euros per year. They also spoke out against the "votes first, questions later" logic.

IL municipal deputy Rodrigo Mello Gonçalves in addition stated that mobility has to be seen in a metropolitan logic, since "three in four vehicles come from outside" the city of Lisbon, and that free public transport has to be implemented "according to need and not age".

Nevertheless, the other political parties in the assembly united around the idea and it is set to become a reality. It is also a social welfare act given that it seeks to lighten the burden of rising energy prices on some of the most vulnerable groups in economic terms.

Children up to the age of 12 have already been benefitting from free public transport in Lisbon, on the Metropolitano and Carris networks, since 2017.

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