Estonia launches free bus travel to boost rural economy

HELSINKI — Estonia's government is planning to offer its citizens free bus rides in the hope of stimulating the rural economy.

Economics ministry spokesman Rasmus Ruuda told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the new bus scheme, which will be rolled out from July 1, will give Estonians a chance to take a free ride within municipal bus lines.

That, he said, should boost travel and employment.

The bus scheme won't be nationwide in the initial phase as some counties in the small Baltic nation of 1.3 million have opted to stay out.

In 2013, Tallinn launched free public transport on buses, trams and later trains for registered residents and has hailed the move a great success.

City officials have said the move created jobs and brought in substantial tax revenues.

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