International Women's Day strike: Long waiting times for Brussels metros

International Women's Day strike: Long waiting times for Brussels metros
Brussels Metro. Credit: The Brussels Times

Ahead of the expected disruption on Friday, public transport in Brussels is also being impacted by a strike call for women's rights on Wednesday, which in the morning resulted in long waiting times.

Wednesday 8 March marks International Women's Day, and for this occasion, various Brussels-based unions have launched a strike call for women's rights.

The region's public transport operator STIB announced on Tuesday that its network may experience disruption as a result of this, but that the impact of this strike is expected to be relatively limited.

However, on Wednesday morning, many commuters in Brussels found themselves waiting for some 20 minutes for a metro, as they are running at a lower frequency. STIB has now advised travellers to find an alternative.

Additionally, because of the snowfall in the region, more people were taking public transport, resulting in crowded carriages.

Possible disruption during demonstration

There is also disruption on buses and trams, but waiting times there are slightly more limited. Travellers will be informed in real-time about the services available via the STIB website and app and on Twitter via @STIBMIVB. The snow itself will not affect the STIB network on Wednesday.

There will be a demonstration taking place on Place De l'Albertine from 14:00 for International Women's Day. The movement of this march could also impact the STIB network.

Participants will call for an increase in gross wages to reduce the gender pay gap, tenable working hours and to combat sexual harassment at work.

On 8 March last year, some 4,800 thousands people took to the streets of Brussels calling for equality, calling for an end to gender-based violence, domestic violence and sexual harassment.

Friday's strike

Public transport will once again be disrupted on Friday, however, the impact will be considerably larger on this day as a result of the national strike.

"We expect a large mobilisation of our staff. Consequently, bus, tram and metro lines will be severely disrupted," the company noted in a statement. "Frequencies will be lower than normal and some lines will not be able to run."

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STIB has asked travellers to seek alternative public transport solutions for their journeys on that day to the extent possible, and will again inform travellers in real-time from 06:00 in the morning via its regular channels.

National railway operator SNCB and Flemish public transport operator De Lijn also expect their networks to be heavily disrupted on Friday.

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