Residents of Gothenburg, Sweden, are discovering that their regional transit agency has a gift for them. The community is giving everyone a free two-week pass to use trams, ferries, and buses to get to work or school instead of driving there.
The goal of the program is to tempt drivers to save money by using public transportation. It is an idea that seems to be working.
Over 30 test-ride campaigns have launched since 2010 across Sweden, giving someone a temporary pass when they move into a region. Over 500,000 people have received a free trial, with 20% converting into paying customers.
It Helps Commuters Make a Change They Are Already Considering
People in Sweden are more likely to embrace ideas that improve the environment than others in the world today. The free passes also help commuters finalize a choice they were already pondering.
It can be a challenge to change a personal routine. The free transit passes offer an incentive for people to give this idea a try with little risk.
There are places in Sweden, including Gothenburg neighborhoods, where public transit isn’t convenient. Some employers require unusual working hours, so taking the tram or bus might not be useful.
When public transportation options receive attention, then they get a chance to expand. Offering to give people a free ride to try out the system will enable more drivers to think about making a change.
Sweden isn’t the only country trying to improve their communities by taking cars off the road. Luxembourg plans to make all public transportation permanently free in 2020.