Guaranteed seats on 98% of trains by 2032

Guaranteed seats on 98% of trains by 2032
Credit: Jules Johnston/ The Brussels Times

The Belgian Railway Company SNCB wants to improve the comfort of passengers by increasing the number of trains by 10% by 2032, as stated in a draft management contract which Le Soir and De Standaard were able to obtain.

Overcrowded trains will only be 2% of the supply, which results in passengers being able to find a seat in 98 out of 100 trains.

Multiple promises are made

The contract demands that when acquiring new trains, SNCB must be able to provide more legroom and storage, so that passengers can put their suitcases underneath their seats, as well as LED lighting and sockets for their appliances.

Train journeys during the summer days will be made more bearable, as the number of trains providing air conditioning will increase (79% by 2027 and 94% by 2032). The SNCB also hopes to improve the 4G connection in its carriages.

Moreover, there is good news for those who travel by train with a bike: SNCB will increase the number of places reserved for bicycles on its trains by at least 50%.

Finally, the last part of the contract insists on making "stations - large and small - lively, safe places to live and conducive to exchanges and meetings". As for the environment, reducing the ecological footprint is another goal SNCB is aiming to attain by 2032.

The draft contract is unanimously approved by the SNCB’s board of directors and will soon be presented to the parliament.

"More trains, more comfort for passengers, better reception at the station, a constant search for improvement... We are moving towards the conclusion of a contract with @SNCB after a wait of 10 years! On the way to tomorrow!"

"The aim is to achieve this by the end of the year and to give the SNCB a clear and ambitious framework for the next 10 years", commented the minister responsible, Georges Gilkinet (Ecolo).

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