Belgium in Brief: Year-long travel for €12, an unmissable deal

Belgium in Brief: Year-long travel for €12, an unmissable deal

Amid the endless news of changes to Covid strategy and the commotion it creates, it can be easy to miss the peripheral changes, many of which will have effects that outlive the urgency of coronavirus times.

In Belgium, the first of the month typically brings a number of new laws and price changes quite detached from the health crisis and this month is no different. One major change that will be welcomed by civil servants is the right to disconnect – essentially enshrining in law their right to not respond to work correspondence or calls outside of working hours.

Covid has seen a societal shift to working from home with the result that the boundary between professional and domestic life has been blurred. This new law aims to make this clear and prevent “excessive professional stress”.

Other changes regard travel fares, normally subject to almost inevitable increases. But this month, some very appealing deals have been announced on the STIB network which will pleasantly surprise commuters in the Brussels region.

Most notably is the announcement that residents aged 18 to 24 will be able to buy an annual pass for just €12. It seems almost too good to be true, travelling on all STIB services for less than the cost of a 10 ticket bundle. Furthermore, the offer does not only apply to students but to anyone within the age bracket.

And as if it weren’t already a no-brainer, the pass will be valid for a year regardless of whether you have your 25th birthday after getting it. Now this age group accounts for very few drivers in Brussels but just imagine how the city would be transformed if similar deals were extended beyond the age of 24…

For now, if you are aged between 18 and 24, be sure not to miss this bargain.

Will you be getting a travel pass? Let @Orlando_tbt know.

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1. Introduce ‘compulsory vaccination choice,’ not compulsory vaccination, says expert

During the hearings on the implementation of the vaccination obligation in Parliament, epidemiologist Marius Gilbert (ULB) proposed a so-called “compulsory vaccination choice” instead of compulsory vaccination. Read more.

2. Annual STIB pass price lowered to just €12 for all 18- to 24-year-olds

From Tuesday, any Brussels resident aged 18 to 24 can buy an annual pass from Brussels public transport network, STIB, to travel by tram, bus and metro for just €12 – a huge reduction from the previous price of €499. Read more.

3. ‘Partygate’: Boris Johnson offers apology but refuses to resign

A string of revelations about “social gatherings” (also known as parties) that took place in the residence of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson during the confinement period has seen the premier fighting for his political career. On Monday, he apologised in Parliament but played down calls to resign. Read more.

4. 34% of European over-80s confined to their homes during first months of pandemic

Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, a third (34%) of people over 80 years old living in the European Union had not left their homes by the summer of that year, according to a study by Eurofound, the EU agency responsible for improving living and working conditions. Read more.

5. What changes on 1 February in Belgium?

As always, a new month brings new changes. From adjusted public transport fares to a ban on calls to public servants after-hours, here is what will change on Tuesday 1 February 2022. Read more.

6. Pandemic exposed ‘dire need’ to improve waste management practices, WHO says

From test kits to vaccines and face masks, additional medical waste from the pandemic response has put “tremendous” strain on waste management systems, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warns. Read more.

7. Hidden Belgium: The indie picture house

Prepare yourself for a shock. Cinema Nova in Brussels is not your normal multiplex experience. The seats are hard. The walls are bare. But it has a loyal fan base that has kept it going for 25 years. Read more.


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