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New Stib vice-president wants free evening and weekend travel
Public transport in Brussels should be made free of charge in the evenings and at weekends, Stib's new vice-president has recommended.
In his first interview since taking office on Monday, Lofti Mostefa, a Socialist councillor in Anderlecht appointed to the Stib board by the Brussels government, said more could be done to "allow the inhabitants of Brussels to abandon their car and take public transport".
The cdH party has long campaigned for free public transport in the city - an idea that also has the backing of the left-wing PTB workers' party.
Making the Stib free for everyone 24/7 would cost the taxpayer an estimated €200 million a year. The Brussels region already pays Stib an annual subsidy to allow free transport for under-12s, over-65s and on New Year's Eve and Car Free Sunday.
"As vice-president, my goal is also to inject new ideas and I would like Stib to benefit Brussels residents first," Mostefa told RTBF.
"We could imagine making public transport free in the evening or at weekends. We are in a context where the issue of air quality and the environment are important."
He added: "Total free public transport has a cost - that is clear. Making Stib totally free is difficult to do in the short term."
Other options could include extending the upper age limit for free children's travel from 12 to 18.
Benoît Cerexhe, head of the cdH group in the Brussels parliament, said: "We've been campaigning for free public transport since 1999."
He added: "What would have a bigger impact would be to make public transport more attractive at times of peak traffic congestion, when 200,000 cars come in and out of Brussels every day. I am sure we will get there."