NMBS says that the ticket offices that are for the chop are no longer viable as too few people use them. The ticket offices that are to be closed include those at Zaventem (village) station and at the stations in Sint-Gensius-Rode, Jette, Waterloo and La Hulpe.
Last year ticket offices were good for just 20% of tickets sold by NMBS. 5 years ago, they still accounted for 54% of sales.
NMBS says that the ticket offices in around 70 of its station have too few customers to make them viable. The closure of 44 ticket offices means that the number of stations with ticket offices will fall to below 100. Once the closure programme has been completed there will be ticket offices at 91 of the 550 stations and stops on the Belgian rail network.
Starting from next month a transitional period will take effect during which the stations’ ticket offices will remain open two or three days a week. Stewards will be deployed to help passengers get use to using the ticket machines. At the end of the year the 44 ticket offices will close for good. NMBS is keen to stress that assistance offered to people with reduced mobility will remain available at all the stations concerned.
The closure of the ticket offices will result in the loss of 77 jobs. NMBS says that this will be done through natural wastage and that there will be no redundancies.