A public transport action group is calling for a new tram route linking the centre of Brussels with the outlying district of Neder-Over-Heembeek has called for the line to be extended by one kilometre to the centre of Vilvoorde.
The new route will link the military hospital in Neder-Over-Heembeek, which is actually part of Brussels-City municipality, with Place Rogier, passing by Dockx shopping centre and the Brussels North station.
Several of the stops on the tram’s route offer a transfer to other lines going to Vilvoorde, but the group Openbaar Vervoer Nu (Public Transport Now) is pointing out that simply by extending the new tram route by one kilometre, commuters would have a direct link with the centre of Brussels, currently served by the 47 bus and trains from Vilvoorde. And that, said Ruben Van Miegroet of the group’s action committee, would bring “thousands of potential extra passengers” to the Stib service.
Ideally, the group would like to see the line extended by 1.2km from the military hospital to Medialaan, where numerous media companies, including VTM but also independent production houses and service providers, are based.
And the group goes further. It’s plan also includes a Park & Ride car park outside the Brussels Ring, where motorists could leave their car and take the tram or bus into the city. Not only would that ease congestion and pollution in the city, but since it would be just outside the low-emissions zone, it would allow some car owners to avoid scrapping older vehicles to buy new ones.
“We are not opposed to the project as such,” said Pieterjan Desmet, spokesperson for Brussels mobility minister Elke Van den Brandt (Groen). However the ministry points out that the change would involve heavy infrastructure work, and might not be technically feasible.