Free public transport for Brussels commuters
3 May 2004
BRUSSELS – Commuters travelling to and from work in Brussels could soon be using the city’s extensive public transport network for free, the government has confirmed.
Speaking over the weekend, Belgian Labour Minister Johan Vande Lanotte explained that a recent agreement on free commuter travel on the Belgian national railway network also applied to public transport inside Brussels.
Under the terms of the original rail travel agrement, the cost of employees’ fares is set to be split between employers and the Belgian government.
Employers would pick up 80 percent of the tab, which they could then write off as a tax-deductible expense. The government would pay the remaining 20 percent.
What was unclear until this weekend was that the arrangement will also work in exactly the same way for Brussels’ network of trams, buses and metros.
Officials in Vande Lanotte’s private office explained that the move means commuters could soon be able to buy combined rail and public transport passes to cover their journeys to and from work.
The new travel perks will come into force on 1 July for Belgian civil servants and on 1 January 2005 for other workers.
Some small firms will not be obliged to offer free travel to their employees.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news