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New 'trambus' from Jette to Brussels Airport
Is it a tram? Is it a bus? It's a bit of both - and it's a new way to get to Brussels Airport.
Flemish public transport operator De Lijn inauguated its new "trambus" service from northern Brussels to Zaventem on Sunday.
The 24-metre-long vehicles, which use hybrid fuel technology, can carry 137 passengers from UZ Brussel hospital in Jette to the airport via Heysel, Koningslo, Vilvoorde town centre, Machelen and Diegem.
The trambus can travel on tram lines while having the flexibility of a bus elsewhere. So far no tram tracks have been laid for the project, but most of the route is on a dedicated bus lane, separated from other traffic.
Its aim is to alleviate traffic congestion in the northern-most parts of Brussels by increasing public transport capacity not just to the airport, but nearby industrial zones, where many people work and shop.
"This is a first for Flanders and Belgium," said De Lijn managing director Roger Kesteloot.
"It is no coincidence that this is done in this area. Mobility represents a major challenge in Flemish Brabant. The northern belt of Brussels is one of the most congested areas. The trambus is our first step towards improving this."
De Lijn has acquired 14 trambuses for the route, at a total cost of €12.2 million. They will run half-hourly during the summer holidays and every 15 minutes from September, with a reduced frequency at weekends.
Photo: Nicolas Maeterlinck/Belga