With governments racing to meet their climate targets, many of them have been particularly attentive to the transportation sector, where reducing emissions can have a huge impact. In that vein, there is an increasing number of initiatives looking to move people away from cars and towards cleaner means of transportation such as bicycles and public transit.
One of these initiatives comes from Barcelona, where citizens who choose to get rid of their old, polluting cars are rewarded with a free transit travel pass that they can use for three years, reports Treehugger.
“People living in the metropolitan area who decide to get rid of and decommission a vehicle without an environmental certificate can benefit from the T-verda, a new travel card that is free for three years,” explains Barcelona’s transit agency on their website. “The card is automatically renewed annually at no additional cost to the beneficiary and is sent to their home address.”
Similar initiatives have been passed in other parts of Europe too. In France, for instance, citizens can exchange their old cars for e-bikes, while in Finland, people can choose between transit passes, incentives toward a more efficient car, or an e-bike.
Promoting such programs is significantly more cost-effective than promoting electric cars. This is because a large share of costs that go into operating a city’s public transit network are essentially fixed costs. This means that the trains and buses have already been purchased, and the routes are already operating. Fewer cars on the road also means fewer emissions, healthier and more active citizens, and less road wear and tear.