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At the start of the next school year, citizens under 25 will be able to enjoy Brussels’ public transport free of charge
Brussels’ local public transport operator, The Brussels Intercommunal Transport Company (STIB) has announced that its services will be free of charge for travelers under 25 years of age starting September 2021. This change has been a crucial priority for local and regional authorities in the Belgian capital and represents just the first part of their long-term vision for the development of the city’s public transport network.
Changes to the benefit of citizens
The change that is set to be introduced in September 2021 is owed to the substantial investments made into STIB over the last few years. More specifically, the company’s budget was increased by over 61 million euros, to a total of 945 million euros, for 2021, which has allowed it to undertake this enormous transformation which would substantially impact its revenue streams.
But the free rides for under-25s are just the start. According to the local government’s initial plans, public transport should also become free for those over 65 in the near future. Presently, however, there was not enough funding for the two changes to happen simultaneously and officials decided on prioritizing local youth, while the elderly benefit from preferential prices of tickets and cards.
On top of these changes, authorities in Brussels are planning additional investments into the public transport network that will make an increasingly popular mobility alternative. Through the funding that has already been allocated and that will be granted, officials aim to improve arrival frequencies of buses, to increase the network’s capacity, to upgrade its fleet by swapping diesel buses for electric and hybrid vehicles and to expand its area of operation and its routes over the next few years.
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