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Free rail passes: how will they work?

Credit: Belga

Now that the free rail pass to revive tourism within Belgium is definitely coming, here’s what you need to know to get yours.

On 6 June, a series of measures were announced by the Superkern – consisting of the government and the ten parties supporting the temporary government’s special powers- including a free ten-trip pass to every resident in Belgium.

The national railway company (SNCB) had not been consulted in this decision, but they reached an agreement with the government last week for not 10 but 12 free journeys.

The 12 free journeys “will take the form of a pass by name and on request,” according to the SNCB, and will be available “to any resident of this country older than 12 years of age who makes the request.” Children younger than 12 already ride for free on Belgian trains.

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“The free pass includes 12 rides and will be usable for a period of 6 months, at the rate of 2 rides per month,” the SNCB said. A return journey counts as two rides, which means you can effectively make one return trip per month with the free rail pass.

“The spread of the use of the pass over a period of 6 months should guarantee a better spread of the passenger flows.”

Those who want such a pass can apply via a web form – which has yet to go live -, after which the pass will be sent by post. The form should be operational by the beginning of August, with the pass being applicable from 17 August. Applications are open until 30 September.

“The action will be supported by a communication campaign highlighting the role of the train as a means of public transport for tourist, commercial, recreational, social and cultural purposes,” the SNCB said.

Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times

Correction: This story has been edited to make it clear that the measure will be available to every resident in Belgium.

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