The Flemish public transport utility, De Lijn, officially inaugurated its first tram-bus on Sunday at Brussels Airport.
The new service is expected to ease traffic in northern Brussels by linking the airport to Jette University Hospital via Brucargo, downtown Vilvoorde and Heysel Plateau.
Brussels Airport CEO Arnaud Feist highlighted the importance of the new line. “The airport has one of the busiest bus stations in the country,” he pointed out.
“There is more bus traffic here than airplane movements and, alongside the thousands of passengers of these planes, there are also thousands of commuters who use public transport.”
With their hybrid engines, the 14 tram-buses, each 24 metres long, are not only quieter but also cleaner, look like trams and are quite easy to manoeuvre.
With a few exceptions, they will follow the 820 line, running every 30 minutes during the summer holiday and twice as frequently from September.
They will also run every half-hour on Saturdays and hourly on Sundays. For most of their itinerary, they will have a dedicated track.
“This is a first for Flanders and Belgium, and it is not by chance that it’s happening in this region,” commented De Lijn Director-General Roger Kesteloot.
“Mobility is a major challenge in Flemish Brabant. The Brussels northern beltway is one of the most congested areas. The tram-bus is a first achievement towards changing that situation.”
The tram-bus fleet cost 12.2 million euros, while Flanders invested about 60 million euros in the entire project.
The Brussels Times