Free rail pass: nearly half a million people apply in first 24 hours
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    Free rail pass: nearly half a million people apply in first 24 hours

    Credit: Belga

    Nearly 500,000 people applied for the national railway service’s (SNCB) free 12-ride ticket in the first 24 hours it was available.

    Applying for the rail pass has been possible since Monday and can be done through this website until 30 September.

    The paper card, known as the Hello Belgium Rail Pass, will be nominative and valid from 5 October.

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    Anyone who has applied for his or her railcard will receive it within 8 to 10 days. Travellers will then be able to use it for a maximum of two journeys per month – or one outward and one return journey, as SNCB spokesperson Bart Crols specified – for a period of six months.

    The government decided in June to offer all residents free train rides. The measure is intended to give a boost to the Belgian tourism sector. Its launch was postponed twice for fear of overpopulated trains.

    The Brussels Times