Belgian rail operator SCNB is considering plans to make cyclists pay for long-term parking as it prepares to revamp and boots cycling infrastructure across its network of stations.
The SCNB is preparing to create an additional 50,000 new bike parking spots by 2025 which the company said would be safer and easier to use and upkeep.
While bike parking in stations would remain largely free, the rail operator could roll-out a paying service for those wishing to park their bike for a prolonged time, Le Soir reports.
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"Currently, the SCNB holds the view that bike parking should remain free," Federal Mobility Minister François Bellot said answering questions in parliament, adding that cyclists would nevertheless be charged after a certain period of time.
"Beyond 24 hours, for example, [parking your bike in a station] would be subject to a fee, like in the Netherlands," he said.
"[Parking] zones under security surveillance and subject to access controls are not free, in any case," he said, adding that with the service, the SCNB was looking to "guarantee parking space to cyclists and offer them increased security."
As the pandemic has boosted the development of biking infrastructure and prompted governments to incentivise citizens to commute by bike, some MPs criticised the measure as counterproductive.
"The government should stimulate citizens to combine cycling with taking the train," Annick Lambrecht, an MP with the Flemish socialist sp.a party said, adding Belgium was already behind several countries in that area.
The Brussels Times