What is needed is totally free public transport, says Belgian socialist leader
Share article:
Share article:

What is needed is totally free public transport, says Belgian socialist leader

Credit: Belga

Belgium’s Socialist Party (PS) leader, Paul Magnette, has called for public transport to be made totally free as one way of tackling the climate crisis which, he said, required “shock measures”.

What is needed is “totally free public transport, including for the SNCB [national railway company],” Magnette said in Le Soir newspaper on Saturday. “That’s the next step.”

In Wallonia, where the public transport company, TEC, has reduced its subscription prices by 70%, “a monthly subscription of 1 euro per person is not a major obstacle, and it’s a substantial saving for families,” the PS leader noted. “Yes, it comes with a cost: 100 million euros in Wallonia, 200 million in Brussels for young people under the age of 24 years. Now we wish to do the same thing for the over-65s.”

Making Belgium’s railway service free would cost 700 million euros per year, which is the amount the SNCB makes on ticket sales. “That’s not a huge sum, it can easily be found,” Mr. Magnette said. “The 0.15% tax on trading accounts brings in 500 million euros a year. Raising it to 0.5% would more than provide the resources needed and, if in a first phase we limit it to the under-24s and over-65s, that would only cost 150 million. We need shock measures.”

Magnette feels free public transport should be included in a plan indicating how Belgium will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030 that is to be presented at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) to be held from 31 October to 12 November in Glasgow, Scotland.

“Belgium needs to go to Glasgow with the recovery plan’s six billion euros, of which an important percentage is devoted to the environment,” the PS leader said. “We’re asking for 1.2 billion more to reach an investment curve leading to 3.5% of GDP by 2024.”

The Brussels Times

Latest news

Increase in number of people ‘asking King for mercy’ through royal pardons
More and more people living in Belgium have been seeking royal pardons, mainly for fines, largely as a result of it now being possible to send in ...
England now accepting cheaper Covid tests from fully vaccinated travellers
Fully vaccinated travellers who enter England from non-red countries will only be required to book a lateral flow test to take following their ...
Re-introducing face masks indoors considered as Covid-19 situation worsens
Belgium's council of ministers will hold an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss the worsening epidemiological situation, and reintroducing face ...
Federal museums to receive €2.9 million booster shot
Federal museums will receive an additional €2.9 million in support from the government for the fiscal year 2021, of which the first payouts will be ...
European Parliament emphasises healthy food and animal welfare in EU Farm to Fork Strategy
The European Parliament adopted this week a resolution on the EU Farm to Fork Strategy calling for a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food ...
Threats of strike action could affect Brussels’ STIB network from Monday
Brussels public transport operator STIB's trams, buses and metros could be affected from Monday 25 October onwards as the union representing the ...
Number of international adoptions in Belgium continues to drop
The number of regulated international adoptions authorised by Belgium further dropped in 2020, continuing an ongoing decreasing trend. Last ...
Disaster drill with emergency services held at Brussels Airport
Around 300 people took part in a disaster drill held was organised on Saturday by Brussels Airport in collaboration with external emergency services ...
Austria presents bill to legalise euthanasia
Austria’s government on Saturday presented its proposals for legalising assisted suicide, in response to a Constitutional Court ruling that the ...
Brussels’ Museum Night Fever draws in some 12,000 visitors
Some 12,000 participants took part in the 14th edition of Museum Night Fever in Brussels, with the 29 participating museums filled to the maximum ...
Relaunch of 10,000 steps campaign to get Flemish people moving
The Flemish government is breathing new life into its 10,000 steps campaign to get people in the region moving after a recent survey found that a ...
‘No scientific basis’ for giving everyone third dose, vaccine expert says
The head of Belgium's Vaccination Taskforce has argued that there is not enough scientific evidence to support the Flemish government's decision to ...