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SNCB to increase train fares in February, Stib prices frozen
Travelling by train in Belgium will be 5.9% more expensive from 1 February 2024. The price rise takes into account the evolution in the consumer price index and the increased costs to run its services, Belgian rail operator SNCB said.
The price rise will apply to all types of tickets - namely home-to-school and home-to-work season tickets, standard tickets, senior and youth tickets, as well as reduced tickets for families with three or more children or with a low income.
Multiple journey tickets such as the Youth Multi, Standard Multi and Local Multi (10 single journeys that can be used anywhere in the Belgian rail network apart from Brussels to the airport) will also go up 5.9%, meaning for example that the Standard Multi will increase from €96 to around €101.70.
The city passes for Anwerp, Ghent, Charleroi and Liège and tickets to take bicycles on the train (€4 each way or €8 for all-day travel) are the only ones whose prices will stay the same.
“This is not a nice message, but the rise in inflation also has a cost for us,” SNCB spokesperson Bart Crols said, explaining why the company had to up its prices following an increase in fares of some 9% in 2023.
The increase is limited to inflation. Normally SNCB would be allowed to increase season ticket prices by an extra one percentage point if a certain number of performance objectives are achieved including customer satisfaction, punctuality and the number of train cancellations. However, these goals were not achieved.
Punctuality levels in November were even worse than in October. Almost one in five trains - 19.2% - arrived at least six minutes late, which is one of the worst results in seven years.
The SNCB said commuters only using the train two or three times a week should use the flexible season ticket, introduced in March. Several other options are available for passengers travelling six to 10 days a month or between 80 and 120 days per year.
The rail operator is also promoting special seasonal offers such as the Duo Ticket, where two people travel for the same price as one, or the Winter Promo Ticket for half-price day return trips in the Christmas holiday period.
It was better news for Brussels' metro, bus and tram users, as the city's public transport operator Stib has announced that prices will not rise in February 2024 as predicted.
The only change will be cosmetic – the Go2city card will be called Airport2city.
However, commuters are not out of the woods yet. As decided when Stib’s 2024 budget was drawn up earlier this year, the public transport operator will still be able to index its prices (upwards) from September 2024.
Stib season ticket prices have been unchanged since 2015.