Brussels’ urban transport company, STIB, on Monday launched a new bus service linking Neder-Over-Heembeek to the European Quarter and the subway, via Schaerbeek.
The new line, No. 56, was inaugurated by STIB Director General Brieuc de Meeùs and the municipal authorities of Brussels and Schaerbeek, led by mayors Philippe Close and Cécile Jodogne respectively.
This represents a new stage in STIB’s Master Plan for the city’s bus service, which will see the redeployment of two-thirds of the company’s bus lines to increase its capacity and attractiveness.
Line 56 links Schuman to Buda, at Neder-Over-Hembeek, a part of the capital that is in full development, and crosses the commune of Schaerbeek.
Places it serves include the Bpost sorting centre, which until now was not accessible by public transport, the Military Hospital, Val Maria and Avenue des Croix de Guerre.
At Hembeek, it offers connections to Bus 47 and Trams 3 and 7. It also provides access to the Docks Bruxsel Shopping District, and to the Verboekhoven, Colignon and Dailly squares. At its terminus in Schuman, direct connections to the train and subway are available.
As part of the redeployment, Line 47 has been reorganised. It used to link Vilvorde Station to Heembeek, but at off-peak hours and on Saturdays, it went on to Place De Brouckere, a complicated route which, moreover, duplicated Line 3.
From Monday, it runs only between Vilvorde Station and Hembeek, from where commuters can take Tram No. 3 to the centre.
Line 27, which currently links the Gare du Midi and Andromède, has now been extended by two stops to the Pleiade, thereby providing a connection to Line 79.
The Bus Transport Master Plan, begun in mid-2018, will be pursued until 2021. The next phase, scheduled for Autumn 2020, entails the commissioning of new lines – No.74 (Erasme – Uccle) and No.52, linking the Central Station to the National Forest.
By the time the entire Master Plan is implemented, two-thirds of the bus network as it stood in early 2018 will have been modified.
These changes, coupled with the arrival of new vehicles, will increase seating on the network by 30% and raise the STIB’s output in terms of distance by 22%.