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20,000 caregivers and health workers to travel free on Stib

22:12 27/07/2023

Brussels public transport operator Stib has announced that people working in the non-profit caregiving sector in the city will in future get free travel on its network.

The Brussels government said it would make public transport free of charge for employees in various care professions from September.

An estimated 20,000 employees working in the welfare and health professions and those who provide assistance for individuals in the care sector stand to benefit.

The total budget for the measure is estimated at €5.5 million per year.

The move comes after the Brussels region drew up what was called a "historic" agreement for the period 2021-2024, allocating €57 million to “strengthen and upgrade” the caregiving professions.

The 2021 agreement also paved the way for salary increases, more assistants and social workers in medical centres, a campaign to promote the professions and support for digitisation of services.

"A new step of this agreement has now been reached with free public transport for all employees in the sector," the government said.

Meanwhile, it has also been announced that pets will soon be able to travel for free on public transport in Brussels.

Passengers, except those who are exempt, currently are supposed to buy a ticket for their pet although, in practice, this is rarely enforced.

The plan came to light after a question from Brussels MP Jonathan de Patoul (Défi) to Brussels mobility minister Elke Van den Brandt (Green) in parliament.

Patoul said: “Many users who, because of their age or social situation, are entitled to a reduced rate or free transport, currently end up with higher costs for their pet than for themselves.”

Written by Martin Banks