Flemish public transport authority De Lijn will start using its new bus terminus at the North station in Brussels on 6 January, it was announced. The terminus will serve all 25 bus routes terminating at the station while work is planned on an entirely new terminal due for 2021.
The new terminus is situated outside the disputed tunnel under the CCN complex which houses the railway station and pre-tram stop underground, as well as offices above. Access to the station is available via escalators.
The underground terminus was the subject of much dispute last year, as drivers and passengers complained about the filth and smell, poor lighting and feeling of insecurity in the tunnel. The blame was placed on transmigrants who had moved into the terminal out of the cold, and whose litter, begging and sometimes even human waste were seen as the source of the problems, including the threat of diseases like scabies and TB. In reality, however, the arrival of the migrants had only exacerbated problems experienced by De Lijn users for years.
De Lijn ordered its drivers to abandon the tunnel and instead use the Place Rogier as their terminus. That led to police action. The ball was then passed to the Brussels region, the communes of Saint-Josse, the rail authority SNCB and De Lijn itself. The situation seemed to have reached a stalemate, until finally an agreement on the new terminus, and later on a thorough overhaul of a permanent terminal, was finally agreed.
The temporary terminus includes a raised pavement to make boarding easier, four shelters and a digital information board showing departure times.