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Mobility minister wants a train every 30 minutes at all Belgian stations

Vice-prime minister and Mobility Minister Georges Gilkinet pictured during a plenary session of the Chamber at the Federal Parliament in Brussels, Thursday 08 October 2020. BELGA PHOTO THIERRY ROGE
15:20 16/11/2020

Georges Gilkinet, Belgium’s new mobility minister, wants the SNCB to increase the frequency of the country's trains, with a service passing at least every 30 minutes. Currently, in small stations, a train passes every hour or every two hours.

A train should depart every 30 minutes at every station in the country. In large urban areas, this should be every 10 minutes, he believes.

The minister hopes that this ambitious train schedule will convince people to do without their cars in favour of more affordable and environmentally friendly alternatives, he says.

The minister wants the national rail operator SNCB to place more emphasis on the availability of trains and staff during off-peak hours, particularly in the evenings and on weekends. He also wants to better distribute passengers over the whole schedule – easing commuter congestion at peak hours – and explore how fares can play a role in this. The SNCB has long wanted to introduce flexible fares to stimulate off-peak travel.

Gilkinet is also keen to explore the creation of quiet zones on trains, where commuters can work in peace, and separate family zones where discussion is allowed. The new government has said it will grant the SNCB exclusive subsidised domestic passenger transportation for an additional 10 years.

According to EU regulations, Belgium must in principle allow competition on the railways by 2023, but thanks to a "direct allocation" the government can grant SNCB a monopoly for even longer.

Comments

WK

Better late than never but when will it become reality? Not much progress in RER around BXL, which is not a good sign

Nov 17, 2020 07:58
Gerard Murray

An admiral aspiration. However, they need to coordinate buses to feed many of these village stations. We often drive back and forth to our local station (12 minutes away) 3-4 times a day due to the kids taking the train to/from school. And, we're not the only ones doing this. It is conceivable to have an electric-powered shuttle bus rotate/pass through 5-7 neighbouring villages but this requires political will and a degree of coordination between SNCB and De Lijn/TEC! And then buy-in from the local population to adopt the service...

Nov 17, 2020 13:27
danbruylandt

Another (im)mobility minister who does nothing for the motorist.
It's downright shameful.
The motorist, even though (s)he pays a loooot of tax... has simply no right to get from A to B in a reasonable timespan!
None whatsoever.

Nov 17, 2020 20:48