The Federal Transport Minister Georges Gilkinet’s (Francophone green) bill will, once it becomes law, oblige provision to be made for at least 8 bicycles in all new NMBS trains that enter service from 2025. Provision for at least 4 bicycles will have to be made in all existing trains that have undergone major reconditioning work.
In a press statement released on Saturday, Mr Gilkinet said that “Currently there are no norms sets to encourage people to combine bike and rail when travelling, not even in the design of rolling stock. This will all change from 2025. This is a concrete further step forward in BE-CYCLIST, our federal cycle action plan to encourage everyone to cycle”.
The new bill has been drafted so as to enable Belgium to conform to a European Commission directive on the rights and obligations of rail passengers that was issued in April 2021. Belgium is going further than what Europe had requested, which was the doubling of capacity to carry bicycles aboard trains from 2025.
Once it becomes law the new bill will also modify the complaints procedure and oblige rail companies and those in charge of railway station management to train their staff to be able to offer assistance to passengers that have limited mobility or that are living with a handicap.
Before being put before the Federal Parliament. The bill will first be scrutinised by the Data Protection Authority and the Council of State.