Next stop: Negotiations

By Christian Block Switch to German for original article

The future of the T.I.C.E. briefly caused a stir in the summer. But even though the storm has subsided and a largely positively received proposal from the Ministry of Mobility on future line planning is on the table: Money has not yet been discussed.

The Tramschapp stop is the fourth last one before the T.I.C.E. bus line 4 reaches its destination in Avenue du Rock'n'Roll, in the middle of the business center of Belval. The name of the stopover goes far back into the history of the southern region. Almost 100 years ago (on May 29, 1927), the first streetcar ran from Esch to Differdange. The chapter of these single-track connections between Schifflange and Rodange, Esch, Kayl, Rumelange and Dudelange, however, only lasted barely 30 years. In many cases, it ended much earlier. In September 1956, the "Minettstram" set off on its last journey in the direction of Kayl.

After decades of promoting road traffic and individual motorized transport, not only in Luxembourg, politicians have been trying for some time to counteract this trend. Investments that have been neglected for decades must be made up for in order to reduce emissions, but also in order not to suffocate completely in passenger car traffic. The government constellation of the past ten years has not only endeavoured to make public transportation more attractive, but has also looked ahead under the leadership of François Bausch (déi gréng). Even though the Greens will no longer assume government responsibility for the time being, the new government will have a concept for the next ten years in the form of the National Mobility Plan (PNM 2035).

And looking at the election programs, the two most likely coalition partners seem to want to stick to this concept. According to this, at some point in the future, the tram should once again be running in the deep south of the country. Coming from the Esch A4 via Foetz, the future district of Metzeschmelz (between Esch and Schifflange), Esch/Alzette and Belval to Belvaux. At least, that's what the plans look like so far.

The construction of a third, rail-based link in the southern region between the capital and the "Minett" is one factor, but not the only one, that, from the point of view of the Ministry of Mobility, based on the PNM 2035, requires adjustments to the bus organization in the south of the country. The PNM forecasts 260,000 additional individual transits per day in the South by 2035 compared to 2017, or nearly 800,000 movements of all types into, out of, and within the region. Just six years ago, three-quarters of those travels were by car or motorcycle, and only 14 per cent were by bus or rail. "If we want to prevent this increase from being car-only, which would lead to a complete paralysis of the southern region, we need to transport twice as many people in public transport than we do today, " says Frank Vansteenkiste, strategic planning advisor at the Ministry of Mobility (and, to be transparent, chairman of the board of Luxtram S.A. on the side). "In the south, the challenge is to get people to the capital comfortably and quickly on the one hand, but on the other hand, there's also an extreme amount of internal traffic [within the region]."

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