Smog: Italian cities offer free bus and metro rides

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Turin and Milan are making public transport free in a bid to combat air pollution. Photo: Andrea Puggioni/Flickr
12:51 CET+01:00
The northern Italian cities of Milan and Turin are letting people use public transport free of charge in an effort to combat dangerously high levels of airborne pollution.

Turin made headlines last year when a study named the city as the worst in the EU for air pollution, and the situation has not improved, news agency Ansa reported.

Health warnings have been issued this week as atmospheric pollution is set to rise to dangerously high levels on Thursday and Friday, with levels of breathable toxic particles reaching 100 micrograms per cubic meter.

In a bid to stop pollution reaching dangerous levels, the council is making the city's buses and metro free on Thursday and Friday to reduce the emissions caused by Turin's heavy traffic.

"It's a great idea," 27-year-old pyschologist Elena Coda told The Local. "Hopefully it will help encourage more people to use public transport. It's very difficult to tell what is fog and what's pollution here."

The initiative, called 'Leave you car and travel free', will see the city's one metro line and 88 urban and suburban bus routes made free to the public between 5am and midnight.

“This is an anti-pollution measure that calls upon the citizens of Turin to take responsibility,” Mayor Piero Fassino said. “The quality of the air we breathe is something we are all called upon to protect.”

But Turin isn't the only city to have been issued with air pollution warnings.

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In Milan, levels of polluting airborne particles were predicted to reach 50 micrograms per cubic meter later this week 

On Friday, anybody who signs up to the city's bike scheme, BikeMi, will not have to pay as the council tries to encourage citizens to travel emission-free. 

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