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Cheat Sheet: What changes 1 Feb

Brussels Airlines will cut 900 flights in February and March. © Brussels Airlines

As February begins, here’s a look at the wider changes to Belgium that go into force today.

Public transport: Ticket prices go up today for the rail authority SNCB and the Flemish public transport authority De Lijn. The m-ticket for De Lijn, bought online or via the app, goes up from €1.80 to €2, while a ten-journey card goes up from €15 to €16. The season ticket Omnipas goes up to €132 for three months and €339 for a full year.

On the trains, the standard ticket goes up in price by €0.65 on average. School and work season tickets go up by 1.95%.

For the Walloon network Tec, the cost of a single ticket goes up from €2 to €2.10, and a day ticket from €4 to €4.10. A season ticket goes up from €320 to €323.

Meanwhile the Brussels network Stib introduces the all-in Brupass XL covering all 19 communes of the region as well as 19 communes on the periphery of the capital, on any of the four networks operating: SNCB, Stib, Tec and De Lijn.

Energy prices: 447,000 more families will now have access to the social tariff for gas and electricity, in a move designed to address the problems of single occupants and one-parent households.

Municipal authorities in Flanders may impose speeding fines for breaking the speed limit in 30 or 50 zones by up to 20km/h. The fine comes in the form of a GAS or municipal administrative sanction.

People in Antwerp who are found to be positive for Covid-19 can now expect to be contacted by Covid-coaches, who will explain to them the procedure to be followed on matters like isolation or quarantine. The city intends to concentrate its efforts on people in hard-hit neighbourhoods. The coaches will also attempt to determine if the person requires additional assistance from social services.

Brussels Airlines will cut 900 flights across February and March, no longer serving Rome, Vienna, Barcelona and Göteborg or the period.

Air Belgium, which flies from Charleroi to the French overseas departments of Guadeloupe and Martinique, will cuts all flights until 1 March. Passengers may change their reservation or obtain a refund.

Telenet starts its new service Play Sports Open on 2 February, an open TV channel that includes a selection of sporting competitions as well as background programming. Among the programmes on offer are matches from the Premier League, the Europa League and Belgium’s Eredivisie.

Self-employed: The bridging allowance granted to the self-employed unable to work because of the coronavirus regulations is extended into February. The allowance is worth €2,583.88 for a single person, or €3,228.20 for a head of family.

February is the perfect month: This year the month of February aligns perfectly with our calendar, being a month of 28 days, four weeks of seven days each starting on Monday and running to Sunday. The phenomenon is unique to February, the only month with 28 days (excepting leap years) and only occurs once every six or 11 years. The next will be 2027. The month also offers a rare palindromic date: 12/2/21.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times