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Government explores possibility of making all rail stations smoke-free
Federal mobility minister Georges Gilkinet will explore the possibility of making all stations and their outdoor platforms non-smoking, he said on Monday, in response to the City of Mechelen's announced intention to work towards this target.
"Stations must be safe and pleasant meeting places,” Gilkinet said. “So, it makes sense to me that the stations of the future are non-smoking."
The Mechelen authorities have asked the railway company SNCB to make not only the city’s station buildings but also its platforms, entrances and exits smoke-free. The initiative is not intended to make smokers feel guilty, but rather to allow other travellers not to be inconvenienced by smoke by restricting this practice to areas clearly designated for this purpose.
Mechelen also intends to clarify the rule regarding open-air areas. Currently, smoking is prohibited in station buildings and on covered platforms.
The SNCB supports the initiative of Mechelen, which proposes its two stations as test locations in a pilot project for non-smoking platforms and stations nationwide. "As in France and the Netherlands, we also want to go to smoke-free stations and platforms," a SNCB spokesperson said.
However, the law must first be amended so that the smoking ban can also be applied on outdoor platforms, the Belgian railway company added. "I will ask my team to study the necessary adjustments to the law," said Georges Gilkinet.