Vooruit party officials were handing out the ticket-like flyers during the weekend, Source: Vooruit/ Facebook

Belgian railways ask Flemish party to stop handing “fake ticket” flyers

Belgian railways ask Flemish party to stop handing “fake ticket” flyers

The leaflets were part of an election campaign, but it looks like the promise printed on them was too realistic

SNCB, the Belgian railway operator, has issued a call to political parties to avoid issuing election materials that end up confusing the company’s passengers. The reason behind the transport company’s formal complaint was an electoral campaign initiative by a regional Flemish party that involved flyers that resembled train tickets.

The “creative” idea to design the leaflets came from the socialist regional party Vooruit, which is campaigning to win votes by promising people to introduce a combined ticket for train, tram, bus and metro – all at the price of 8 euros. The entire leaflet describing this proposal was printed on a rectangular piece of paper that somewhat resembles a passenger ticket.

Party officials then handed out the flyers at a train station. It looks like the design was convincing enough for some people that they presented the leaflets as tickets when the train conductors came around.

A picture is worth a thousand words

Vooruit, like all Belgian parties, is trying to garner support for the upcoming Belgian federal elections, which will take place on 9 June, together with the elections for the European Parliament.

The party issued an apology to the railway company for the inconveniences it may have caused, however, the initiator of the idea Joris Vandenbroucke, federal faction leader, was also adamant that the design was such as to make it clear that the flyers were not train tickets.

"The front is indeed in the shape of a train ticket, but on the back, there is a photo of myself, an explanation of our proposal and the legally required statement that this is election printing," pointed out Mr Vandenbroucke, as quoted by VRT News.

The front of the ticket, however, features the logos of the railway company and the Flemish public transit operator De Lijn, which speaks to a reflex of people to recognize and respond to brands faster than they do to written text.



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