Brussels wants to pay people to get rid of their cars

Brussels wants to pay people to get rid of their cars
Credit: EU

A sustainability initiative from the Brussels-capital Region plans to pay people to get rid of their personal vehicles.

Through the newly-revamped Brussels'Air Premium, city residents who cancel their number plates can apply for a credit that ranges from €500 to €900. This can be spent 'à la carte' on mobility alternatives of their choosing, from rail passes to bike purchases and even taxi trips.

“This reform of the Bruxell'AIR bonus is an important tool to encourage a transport shift in Brussels,” Alain Maron, Brussels Minister for Climate Transition and the Environment, told The Brussels Times.

“By quadrupling its budget and ensuring that it pays special attention to disadvantaged households and people with reduced mobility, we want to enable all the city's inhabitants to gradually make the transition to more sustainable mobility.”

Tackling the city's pollution problem

The benefits are various but one of the biggest goals is to “improve the quality of the air we breathe while calming our city and fighting congestion,” Maron says.

Recent studies have shown that air quality in Brussels remains poor in many places, including its parks and other green spaces, largely due to pollution from cars in one of Europe's most congested cities.

The Brussels'Air premium hopes to convince people to hang up their car keys and instead make use of alternative means of transport.

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Those who take advantage of the premium will be able to test and combine different means of transport for free in order to discover which alternatives best suit their needs. They can then spend their credit on a variety of sustainable transport options.

An array of alternatives

Some of those options include a subscription to car-sharing platforms, STIB subscriptions and services, access to Mobility as a Service (MaaS) platforms and a bicycle budget for purchasing a bicycle and/or bicycle equipment.

The bicycle budget will also entitle those who take advantage of it to a free Pro Velo training course to learn how to cycle in the city.

To help choose from the wide range of services offered, residents can book a virtual meeting with a “mobility coach” from Bruxelles Environment who can help determine which mobility services suit them best.

How much could you get

In an effort to increase equity when it comes to transitioning to more sustainable modes of transport, the amount of the premium will now be based on the income of its beneficiaries.

The amount of the Brussels'Air Premium varies based on your profile, your family's income and the possible presence of a disabled person in your family (ie a person who qualifies for a disabled parking card). These are the three levels.

Less wealthy households will be eligible for the maximum €900, while wealthier households will receive €500. People with reduced mobility are immediately eligible for the maximum amount of the premium.

The premium will be accessible in the coming weeks and will apply to anyone who has had a number plate removed on 4 April 2021 or later. Those who already meet that condition can find information about applying by sending an email to

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