15 December 2004
BRUSSELS – Belgian rail season tickets are to rise by a quarter next year, according to the Flemish newspapers Het Laatste Nieuws and De Nieuwe Gazet.
On Wednesday, the papers reported that, although Public Enterprise Minister Johan Vande Lanotte has talked of a 5-10 percent increase, commuters will pay up to 25 percent more.
Until now, season ticket holders have paid the cost of nine months of train travel for an annual ticket. But from 2005 they will pay for 10.
That means a ticket which cost EUR 633 this year will cost EUR 806.
“Three years ago, we wanted to promote the annual train season ticket by making the customer pay just nine months instead of 10,” said Leen Uytterhoeven, a spokeswoman for Belgian rail operator SNCB.
She added that the train company now had to revert to normal pricing.
Commuters will also stop benefiting from discounted prices thanks to 10 percent reduction vouchers, handed out on buses.
“That was a one-off offer,” said Uytterhoeven, adding that Lanotte’s ministry had decided to divert those funds into offering free train travel for civil servants commuting to work.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news