Coronavirus makes plans for free public transport in Brussels uncertain
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    Coronavirus makes plans for free public transport in Brussels uncertain

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    Expenses linked to the coronavirus crisis may derail plans to make Brussel’s public transport network free for under 25s and over 65s, the regional budget minister said.

    In an interview with Bruzz, Brussels Budget Minister Sven Gatz said that plans to make STIB’s public transport network free for those user categories were now up in the air as a result of the pandemic.

    “We will have to make choices within the government. Everyone will have to put away some of their dreams,” he told the outlet, adding that it was uncertain that the move was still a priority.

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    Gatz’s comments come less than a month before the date set for the implementation of the move, touted by many ministers in the coalition government as a central promise of their administration.

    Transport authorities last year had confirmed that the measure would be in place by summer 2020 at an estimated cost of at least €12 million.

    The economic paralysis brought on by the pandemic has already sucked some €300 million from the regional coffers, with the expected loss of revenue set to deal a further blow to the budget.

    Budget discussions have reportedly been moved to September, with Gatz saying that the possibility for public transport will be on the table “just like all other agreed policies.”

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times