A new bill that would reward commuters to take public transport rather than their own private car has been proposed to the Brussels Parliament by MP Christoph De Beukelaer.
The proposal, ‘Bonus Go Brussels’, initiated already back in 2019, would give motorists who use a car-sharing system, a bicycle, or public transport instead of their own car during the rush hours in Brussels, a reward of three euros per journey.
Anyone who agrees to participate would have to register on a website dedicated to the operation, fill in a declaration of honour, or submit a certificate from their employer, New Mobility reports.
To check that commuters don’t abuse of the system, more than 150 ANPR cameras scattered throughout the Region would be used.
“With those images, we can find out who is in the traffic jam,” De Beukelaer told Bruzz. “That also allows us to contact people and ask them if they want to sign up for the ‘Bonus Go’ project.”
De Beukelaer’s reasoning? A positive incentive would have a more significant impact than a dry tax levy on mobility, with the MP referring to various examples abroad such as Rotterdam, Singapore, or Lahti in Finland, demonstrating the effectiveness of the approach.
According to De Beukelaer’s calculations, 15,000 cars, or 5% of all cars, would disappear from Brussels streets in two years. The budget to finance the reward system would amount to 18 million euros a year, Bruzz reports.
“On an annual budget of 500 million euros for mobility, that is peanuts,” De Beukelaer said. “And if the idea is a misfire with commuters, it won’t cost anything either. So there is little to lose.”
On Thursday La Libre Belgique published an open letter signed by several entrepreneurs from Brussels mobility ‘start-up scene’, calling for the proposal to be taken seriously.
The signatories call on the Brussels Parliament to not get bogged down on ‘sterile’ considerations on “commuters coming from Flanders or Wallonia” or if it would be unfair “that those who already cycle to work would not benefit from the premium.”
“For decades, these traffic jams have been poisoning everyone’s life. If this scheme has any chance of achieving results, that’s the main thing,” the initiators pleaded, arguing that Brussels mobility policy is based too much on infrastructure investments. “Policies that influence behaviour are immensely cheaper, more agile, and can achieve good results, they added.”