Fare dodgers on Belgium’s public transport to be sent to court
Belgium's chief public prosecutors have announced that people who are caught on a train without a valid ticket on three occasions are to be given a court summons.
Prosecutions may also be initiated after fare dodgers are caught out a first and a second time, depending on the circumstances.
Until now there was no obligation to prosecute such people and fare dodging rarely came to court.
The instruction was sent out several weeks ago, but has only now been publicised.
The state-owned rail company NMBS is pleased with the development.
The NMBS's Jochem Goovaerts told the VRT: "It's a first step against fare dodgers. It's a good thing people know what their actions can lead to."
Last year 250,000 people were caught without a ticket. Half of these passengers refused to pay their ticket and the penalty.
Under former rules, the public prosecutor could only start a prosecution if a person failed to pay up.
The new instruction means that repeat offenders, whether they pay the fine or not, are eligible for a court summons.