Free public transit can work, as evident from Estonia

There’s so much going on in the world and it can be difficult to understand it all at times — by reading this newsletter, you’re getting a digest of the biggest news this week, what it means and why it matters. If you like what you see, send it to a friend or ask them to sign up here.

Estonia is about to become the first nation in the world with free public transit for residents

📸:  Wikimedia

📸: Wikimedia

The entire country of Estonia will go fare-free on July 1, making it the largest free public transit zone anywhere in the world. Travelling in the capital city Tallinn is already free to local residents, but not tourists or visitors — even visitors from another part of the country — but this new scheme will extend the free travel zone across all state-run buses in rural towns.

However, this plan won't extend the free public transit to other cities and won't give domestic visitors free access to the bus and tram. Though most of the country's population is around the capital, people in other cities, like Tartu and Pärnu, will still need to pay their fare. Citizens will be able to travel wherever they need to go now and not have to worry about their monthly budget, as the service will be paid for by deducting $1,000 from everybody's income tax bill.

Other cities, such as Hasselt, Belgium have tried this before but had to cancel it for various reasons.

Transit in the country already get large subsidies of up to 80 percent, and making the buses fare-free would only cost €12.9 million. Getting rid of ticket sales and inspectors will eliminate further costs and cut down on delays by allowing for all-door boarding at busy stops.

Noteworthy Read

Just last week, Google unveiled its Duplex service, which will soon allow the company to utilize its AI technology to make calls that sound like a human is speaking, when in fact it is a robot. The service will be used initially to update Google Maps listings and was demoed at the company's annual I/O conference, but several media outlets are accusing the demo of being fake.

Number of the week

Even though Facebook is outright banned in China, it is still the company's second biggest market, bringing in 10 percent of its global revenue. The country accounts for $5 billion of Facebook's yearly revenue, and a lot of it comes from businesses in the country targeting ads to people around the world.

📸:  Pixabay

📸: Pixabay

In case you missed it

- Prince Harry and Meghan Markle got married on the weekend and it's all the internet has been talking about with the hashtag #RoyalWedding taking over Twitter.

- Bank of America customers, meet Erica, the company's new AI-powered assistant that will help you search for transactions, transfer money to friends, find the closest ATM and more.

- It turns out that AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint all sell US phone subscriber's real-time location data to a company called Securus, and that there was a bug on the company's website that allowed anybody to see the location of any other person without their consent. There was no breach in Canada but CBC published that Rogers, Telus and Bell sell location data as well, but only if they have your consent, the company says.

- People's usage on Facebook after the #DeleteFacebook backlash actually increased by 7 percent year-over-year, and that time spent on the platform has increased as well.

- During the elections coming up in both the United States and Canada, remember that voting via text is not a thing. Trolls are popping up on Twitter spreading this false information, which isn't the first time it's happened.