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12 free rail journeys for all from August
Every Belgian resident aged 12 and over will be entitled to a free 12-journey SNCB rail pass, in an attempt to boost domestic tourism following the coronavirus shutdown.
The "National Tour" pass entitles the named user to 12 free second-class journeys on the Belgian rail network, up from the 10 previously planned.
The free journeys can be claimed at a rate of two per month, from August to January. A return trip counts as two journeys.
It cannot be used during weekends in August, to help limit overcrowding on popular summer routes, and will not be accepted on trains before 9.00 on weekdays.
The SNCB hopes to make online registrations for the pass available by the beginning of August, and for the passes to be ready to use by mid-August.
Belgium's federal government had first announced the plan for a free rail pass for everyone at the beginning of June.
The SNCB was initially against the idea, claiming it had not been consulted over the plans, and that they risked causing overcrowding on some trains.
In related news, the SNCB has announced that bikes can travel free on trains from 1 July until the end of the year. Passengers must still print out a ticket for their bike, at no cost, to help the rail operator keep track of how popular the scheme is.