National protest: Heavy public transport disruptions expected on Thursday

National protest: Heavy public transport disruptions expected on Thursday
Credit: Belga

Heavy disruptions on public transport networks are expected across Belgium on Thursday 5 October, as trade unions are organising a national demonstration against the so-called 'Van Quickenborne bill' to restrict demonstrations.

The protest aims to denounce a proposed law by Federal Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne that could impose a demonstration ban on so-called "rioters". The ban would aim to stop people who do not actually take part in a protest from using it as an excuse for violence, but it is feared that it could lead to a complete judicial ban on demonstrations.

Therefore, the joint trade union fronts (ACV/ACOD/VSOA) of Brussels, Flanders and Walloon public transport companies STIB, De Lijn and TEC have submitted a strike notice for Thursday.

National railway company SNCB is not participating in the action. No strike-related train disruptions are therefore expected on the day, a spokesperson told The Brussels Times.

Brussels-Capital Region

The STIB bus, tram and metro lines will be disrupted all day in Brussels due to the participation of some of its staff in this national action.

"At the moment, it is not possible to know how many staff members will participate and consequently which lines will or will not run," STIB said in a press release. "Passengers are invited to find an alternative mode of transport."

The company recommends using the Floya app, which allows users to combine different modes of transport (including shared bikes, cars and e-scooters), to find a solution to get around Brussels on the day of the manifestation.

From 06:00 on Thursday, the company will keep passengers informed about the disruption on its network in real-time via its website and different social media accounts.


The trade union action is expected to cause disruption to services provided by De Lijn buses and trams across Flanders and Brussels. Almost half of buses and trams will not be running, the company confirmed on Wednesday.

Across Flanders, an average of 58% of all buses and trams will run. Specifically, 44% of the scheduled coastal tram trips will run, barely half of all trips in the city of Antwerp will be carried out, and in Ghent, 65% will run.

In East Flanders, two-thirds of the planned trips will go ahead as scheduled, while in West Flanders, this figure is 56%. Finally, both in Flemish Brabant and Limburg, De Lijn expects to offer six out of ten of their rides.

The route planner will show all rides that will continue to run on Thursday, both on the De Lijn website and in the app. Rides that do not run will not be shown.


The staff of Walloon bus company TEC will also take part in the action, leading to numerous disruptions on its public transport network in the south of Belgium throughout the day.

"Some disruption is to be feared on the TEC network," the company said in a press release. "Information on cancelled routes will be available by region no later than 16:00 on Tuesday."

To see if a bus journey has been cancelled, passengers can consult the timetable for their bus line or stop here or on the TEC app. Cancelled routes will be crossed out and marked as "This journey is not ensured" or "Cancelled."

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