Wallonia’s transport authorities on Wednesday announced the creation of a new network of express bus lines.
The announcement was made by the region’s public transport company, TEC, and Mobility Minister Philippe Henry, who explained in a press release that the decision to create the new network followed an evaluation of the Wallonia Easy Line (WEL) service, which has now been adjusted.
The network, for which a name still has to be decided, will comprise the 11 existing TEC lines, four improved WEL lines and three new lines, giving a total of 18.
Minister Henry had recently highlighted the need to adapt and gradually restructure the region’s express network.
In concrete terms, the new network will integrate the Namur-Luxembourg express line, the Rapido and Conforto lines in Walloon Brabant and the WEL lines.
The six WEL lines were launched on the TEC network on 23 April 2019. These are express-type lines with few stops on buses that are more comfortable, climatised and have Wi-Fi access. The Walloon Transport Operator evaluated the service late last year and a number of adjustments were decided.
Due to their success, the WEL 04 line, between Marche and Liège, and WEL 05, Namur-Nivelles, will be increased by 25% from late April 2020.
WEL 02 (Bastogne-Arlon) and WEL 03 (Charleroi- Chimay) will also be increased by 25% before being integrated with other express lines with comparable routes.
On the other hand, WEL 01 and WEL 02, linking Athis and Mons, and Braine, l’Alleud and Wavre respectively, have been scrapped and alternatives will be studied. The evaluation had found that the use of these lines was too weak and the cost of the trips per passenger was too high.
“Three new lines will be launched from September 2020,” Minister Henry’s office said in the press release. The first will link Waremme and Namur, the second Peruwelz and Ath, and the third Malmedy and Verviers. “These are three express lines operating between 6:00 AM and 8:00 PM from Monday to Friday,” with buses every two hours on Saturday, according to the ministry.
The obligation to book in advance on the WEL lines, which was imposed on a trial basis, has now been scrapped in favour of the MOBIB card, which will be available at all physical and electronic sales outlets.