Passengers stage protest against fare increases on Brussels public transport

Around 150 disgruntled customers of the Brussels public transport company MIVB staged a demonstration in Brussels on Sunday afternoon. The protesters are unhappy at fare increases for those buying paper tickets that are due to be implemented soon. 

From the spring it will be possible to make contactless payments for tickets for travel on MIVB’s network of busses, trams and metro services. The Brussels public transport company hopes that the new means of paying for tickets will be of particular interest to those that only occasionally use public transport in the capital, such as tourists, day trippers and those that are in Brussels for a few days on business. Most passengers hat regularly use public transport in Brussels have a Mobib chip card onto which they can download individual or multi-journey tickets or their monthly or annual season ticket.

Currently the only option for those without a Mobib card is to purchase either single journey tickets or tickets allowing 24, 48 or 72 hours unlimited travel from one of the hundreds of ticket machines situated in underground stations and major bus and tram stops or over the counter at one of the MIVB’s (manned) metro station or from one its “Bootik” ticket office and service centres.

Currently a single journey ticket bought in advance of travel costs 2.10 euro. This is 40 cents less that what you pay if you buy your ticket from the bus or tram driver.

Under the planned price increase the cost of a paper single journey ticket bought in advance of travel will go up to 2.60 euro, an increase of almost 25%. The price of a single journey ticket bought from the driver will go up from 2.50 euro to 3 euro (+20%). Meanwhile the price of a ticket offering unlimited travel for a period of 24 hours will rise from 7.50 euro to 8 euro, a rise of around 7%. MIVB hopes that the price increase for paper tickets will serve to encourage customers that need to buy their tickets through contactless means.    

"It will still be possible to buy a single journey ticket for 2.10 euro if you pay by contactless means”, MIVB wrote last month in a press statement announcing the fare increases.

Nevertheless, some passengers are clear unhappy about the increase. So much so that they have taken to the streets to protest.

Spokeswoman Ilse Van de Keere of the Brussels-Capital-Elsene Local Police Service told the Brussels regional news platform Bruzz that the protest is peaceful.