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‘The capital of Europe deserves better’: Proposal calls for more night-time public transport in Brussels

09:09 30/01/2023

A new proposal from the MR party is calling on the Brussels parliament to expand its night-time public transport options, in particular between midnight and 3.00 on weekends.

The aim is to facilitate a more lively and safe nightlife in the city, with people able to get home late after enjoying themselves well into the evening using public transit rather than having to drive – potentially while under the influence – or rely on a taxi or ride-hailing service.

The MR proposal has taken inspiration from other European cities with similar initiatives, including Paris whose night buses run all week long from midnight to 5.30, with the metro running until 1.15 on weekdays and until 2.15 on weekends.

London likewise has night bus services to cover the period during which the metro is closed and before daytime buses start running, and some bus routes are run 24 hours a day.

In Berlin, buses run when the metro closes between 1.00 and 4.30, and for longer on Fridays, Saturdays as on the eve of public holidays.

Rome, which served as another inspiration for the proposal, has 20-plus night bus routes that run from midnight to 5.00.

The MR proposal is asking that the Brussels metro runs until 3.00 on weekends and that the existing night bus services, which run on Friday and Saturday nights, be extended to begin on Thursdays.

“Extending transport at night would be a real boon to support Brussels' hotel and catering industry after years of crisis, boost tourism and support cultural operators,” the bill's authors say.

David Weytsman and Anne-Charlotte d'Ursel, who tabled the bill, point out that Brussels metro currently closes at about 12.30, with buses and trams running to later than 1.00.

“The 11 Noctis (night bus) lines, which run from midnight to 3.00, are limited to Fridays and Saturdays,” Weytsman said.

“Collecto shared taxis only run between 23.00 and 6.00, and only within the limits of the Brussels region. The capital of Europe must do better.”

D’Ursel explained that the bill calls for a consultation with the Flemish region in order to analyse the possibility of extending the taxi’s operating zone to the outskirts of the capital.

“We also ask that the possibility of extending the hours of the metro network during the weekend until 3.00 be studied,” d'Ursel said.

Written by Helen Lyons