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    Research unclear about trend in train ticket prices

    Two people are critically injured after a train collided into their car, which was stationed on the train tracks. Credit: © Belga

    While Belgium may have some of the cheapest train tickets in Europe, research is conflicted about the direction in which ticket prices are headed.

    According to the Swiss bank UBS, a second-class ticket in Belgium costs about 40% less than the average for other European countries and is the cheapest in Western Europe, according to New Mobility.

    A one-way second-class ticket from Brussels Central to Liège-Guillemins costs 14.80 euro. Several factors go into setting ticket prices, including energy consumption, staff costs, and equipment costs.

    While ticket prices vary depending on the service provider, the Belgian government covers approximately two-thirds of the cost of train tickets, but that subsidy is decreasing even as the number of travellers increases.

    However, there is conflicting research on whether SNCB ticket prices are increasing or decreasing.

    Research from the European Commission says that between 2005 and 2014, SNCB fares decreased by 1% each year.

    Other research claims tariffs on train tickets have increased, saying that over 20 years they have gone up 60%. In an article in the Belgian Observatory of Inequalities, lower investment from the government and more travellers are listed as some of the reasons for higher fares.

    Sam Nelson
    The Brussels Times