The politics of why you’re late to work

Young, old, student, employed, retired, rich, poor, men, women, black, white: we all share one annoyingly common problem in Luxembourg. We are all constantly stuck in traffic.

Luxembourg City is the epitome of this problem, but every region on the border with either Germany, France, or Belgium, is also experiencing massive problems. But let’s stick to Luxembourg’s capital for the sake of this argument.

The incumbent government was the one to unveil the tram project, or at least its first stage of completion, as its journey now goes from Kirchberg to the city centre. Both the three-party coalition, as well as the main opposition party CSV, were involved in setting up this infrastructure project.

It seems, however, that neither the government nor anyone involved in transport claims that this has solved the city’s traffic jams in any way. In fact, it may have just worsened it, were the tram project discovered to be transporting people slower and less efficiently than the previous buses.

Everyone seems to agree that we need innovative solutions to the Grand Duchy’s traffic problems, especially on the political level. And yet, we’ll soon notice that politicians are actually taking decisions that aggravate the problem. Take the example of narrower streets (with increased space for pavements), the structural disappearance of practical bus stops. Some bus stops have very visibly been transformed, from a spot in which the respective bus does not bother car traffic, to a system in which everyone gets stuck behind it.

Driving through Luxembourg has become a parkour of bumps, narrow streets, trees and hindering public transport options, for the political goal of people going back to public transport. The “going back to public transport” is chosen by design here: throughout decades, Luxembourgers increased their living standards in order to not be stuck on a tram, train or a bus. Cars are manifestation of success and comfort of the individual.

However, collectivist ideologies, such as modern-day environmentalists, reject the notion that the individual should reap the benefits of his or her success, but should rather be part of a community in public transport.

This is why they will do everything in their power to crush any attempt to make the city and the country traffic flows run easier, and which is why they ditched attempts to solve Luxembourg City’s traffic jams with either a tunnel or a cable car.

Environmentalists are willing to accept the costs of traffic jams, that being higher petrol consumption, and a drain on the mental health of workers who are confronted with it every day. Let alone the cost to the companies employing people who are structurally late to work.

So yes, there is a real politics behind why you’re late, and it needs to go.

This article was first published by the Luxembourg Times.

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About Bill Wirtz

My name is Bill, I'm from Luxembourg and I write about the virtues of a free society. I favour individual and economic freedom and I believe in the capabilities people can develop when they have to take their own responsibilities.

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