A free public transport network would make “no sense” for Brussels, Brieuc de Meeûs, head of the city’s public transport operator STIB said on Wednesday.
“It would cost 250 million euro,” de Meeûs said, speaking on RTBF’s La Premiere morning program and adding that it would be “unsustainable” for the regional budget.
Current fares for city’s public transport network, which consists of 82 different lines of metro, tram, and bus, stand at €499 a year or €49 per month, with students and the elderly benefiting from discounted fares. Some categories of users who meet specific conditions can already use the network free of charge. A single ride costs €2.10.
With federal elections looming, the issue has been gaining ground among the country’s political parties, with the Socialists (PS) and Worker’s (PTB) including the measure in their official programs. Other parties, such as Ecolo, opt for a selective approach which would make the transport network free for only certain users, while the Humanist Democratic Centre (CDH) has called for a study of the move’s potential impact and its feasibility.
STIB, which is celebrating the 150 anniversary of the city’s tramway network on May 1, unveiled on Tuesday a model for the new generation of trams, announcing that the network will acquire 175 new trains which will circulate in the capital as of early 2020.
According to a previous STIB annual report, the company transported over 400 million passengers in 2017.