The IKEA store in the Wilrijk district of Antwerp will be the first branch to test a free shuttle service to and from the city centre in the hope of reducing traffic and attract more visitors, namely those without a car.
On Wednesday morning, the first "Pändelbuss", decorated in the company's yellow and blue colours, will depart from the branch as part of the project which is expected to last at least three months.
"The Pändelbuss is a simple and sustainable mobility solution that we want to offer to the people of Antwerp who previously could not easily get to IKEA Wilrijk," Robbe Geeraerts, Deputy Market Manager at IKEA Wilrijk, said in a press release on Monday.
The bus will be stopping in the city centre at the junction between the Frankrijklei and the De Keyserlei and will drive back and forth roughly once an hour during the store's opening hours, a journey which should take 25 minutes, as the bus is allowed to drive on the bus lane and has no stops.
Both IKEA and the city of Antwerp hope that the bus will also help take cars off the road, a relief for the at times very congested roads in the city and its southern outskirts.
"The PÄNDELBUSS will take a lot of cars off an already congested road axis, and in doing so it makes a useful contribution to the modal shift for Antwerp," Koen Kennis, city councillor for mobility for the city of Antwerp, said.
Due to the size of the bus, IKEA recommends that people only board the bus with smaller purchases, and get larger pieces delivered to their home.