The barometer by Vias highlighting unprecedented car use and a sharp decline in the use of public transport of Brussels inhabitants used a sample that is much too small to be qualified as rigorous, the cabinet of Brussels Minister of Mobility Elke Van den Brandt says.
The barometer compared the current transport habits of Belgians to their behaviour in the period before the lockdown. It stated that residents of Brussels had massively abandoned public transport in favour of driving and, to a lesser extent, cycling and other active modes of transport, with walking increasing from 10% to 18%. These numbers would correlate with a drastic decline in public transport.
The study was based on 170 people, of whom barely a quarter were cyclists, something Van den Brandt’s spokesperson says makes the results questionable.
Furthermore, “the barometer was established on the basis of figures dating back to the week of 11 May, at least six weeks ago,” Van den Brandt’s spokesperson commented. That was “a time when the use of teleworking was higher than it is now. The current situation is completely different.”
Brussels public transport company STIB itself has expressed optimism. “We are not very worried, we think that the situation will 100% return to normal,” said STIB spokesperson Françoise Ledune on Friday.
“We have already seen occupancy grow by 45% for the metro and by 49% for the overground network,” Ledune said, pointing out that occupancy rates were increasing by 5% per week.
The Brussels Times