Brussels mulls free public transport for all

(EurActiv, 1 Feb 2019) The new vice-president of the Belgian capital’s transport operator (STIB) has suggested rolling out free public transport for residents during the evening or on weekends. His socialist party has upped the ante and suggested it should be free every day.

STIB Vice-President Lotfi Mostefa wants to make the move in order to convince Brussels commuters to ditch their cars.

“We could imagine an extension of the free evening or weekend trips. We are in a situation where air pollution issues and environment issues are important,” he told Belgian media this week.

Mostefa was appointed as STIB VP by his socialist party, which is a part of the coalition government that runs the Brussels capital region. His party has grander plans still and wants to offer free rides all the time.

One of Mostefa’s predecessors, Ridouance Chahid, said that his party had considered offering free transport to elderly Brussels residents before broadening the idea to incorporate everybody. They have suggested 2024 as a possible implementation date.

Estimates put the cost for making free transport-for-all at €200 million, an outlay which STIB itself would not be able to absorb, meaning it would have to be financed through public money.

Mostefa said it would “not be feasible in the short term” and that “target audiences” should be the priority.

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EurActiv, 1 Feb 2019: Brussels mulls free public transport for all