Strike action causes severe delays to public transport in Brussels, De Lijn also impacted

Strike action causes severe delays to public transport in Brussels, De Lijn also impacted
Credit: Belga

Large-scale strike actions are taking place across Belgium today, resulting in widespread disruptions to public transport in Flanders and Brussels.

Demonstrations are planned in Antwerp, Charleroi, Ghent and Brussels. Further actions will now also be organised in Liège, Namur, Walloon Brabant and the northwest of Hainaut — as part of trade union BBTK-ABVV's "Up with the wages" campaign, which aims to increase wages and in turn employee purchasing power.

In anticipation of the strikes, both Flemish public transport operator De Lijn and STIB in Brussels announced that they expect disruptions in their services. In Wallonia, TEC is also experiencing issues but national train operator SNCB hopes to run services as normal.

Brussels region

In Brussels, STIB services are heavily affected as the demonstrations themselves affect some transport lines and many staff members are participating in the strike. Metro services are severely impacted, with only line 1 operating throughout the day.

Additionally, many of its tram and bus services have been cut.

"Tweet translation: "National trade union action. Lines in service at 7.30 am: Metro 1, Tram 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 51, 82 and 92, other metro and tram lines are not running today. Bus 12, 29, 34, 36, 46, 53, 56, 59, 65, 71, 86, 87 (extended to Black Ponds), 88 and 95. No Noctis tonight."

An action is planned from 10:00 to noon at the headquarters of the Federation of Belgian Enterprises (FEB), near the Central Station. Waste collection and other city services may also be disrupted.

Flanders and Wallonia

De Lijn has announced that four of its ten bus and tram lines are out of service. Services in and around the city of Antwerp are most impacted, as only 55% of all journeys will take place here.

Tweet Translation: "Between 10:00 and 13:00, tram traffic will be severely disrupted in the city centre of Antwerp due to a trade union event.

Expected disruption: Tram line 1: disruption at Operaplein. Tram line 7: disruption on Bourlastraat and Huidevetterstraat."

According to the police, demonstrators will gather on the Operaplein in the city centre at 09:00; the march will leave at 10:00 via de Frankrijklei towards the Groenplaats, resulting in many streets on the way being inaccessible to cars and cyclists.

Tweet translation: "Serious traffic disruption expected between 9 am and 2 pm along the route: Operaplein-Frankrijlei-Leopoldstraat-Huidevetterstraat-Meirbrug-Schoenmarkt-Groenplaats."

Meanwhile, the City of Antwerp warned that there would also be a disruption of public services, affecting waste collection childcare facilities. All recycling parks in the city of Antwerp will be closed.

In East Flanders, the same number of journeys is expected to be cancelled, with the worst disruption being centred in and around Ghent, where a union action on the Kramersplein at 11:55. Two primary and nursery schools are close here too, according to VRT News.

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In Flemish Brabant, around 60% of all De Lijn journeys will take place, while in Limburg and West Flanders this will be around 70% and 65% respectively. At the seaside, only 35% of all the coastal tram rides are expected to go as planned.

In Wallonia, the TEC expects disruption across the entire network. The company has listed the exact disruption per province on its website.

De Lijn will keep travellers updated via its website and app, STIB will inform travellers on its website, the mobile app and on the social media channels Facebook and Twitter (@STIBMIVB) and TEC will also keep travellers updated via its website and Facebook page.

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