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Stib updates rules on public transport behaviour

09:44 16/05/2024

Anyone drinking alcohol on the metro will face fines or worse, following the entry into force of updated measures by Brussels public transport operator Stib to improve safety in the capital’s buses, trams and metros this summer.

The Brussels regional government decree, which was last updated in 2007, states the rules passengers have to follow when using the Stib network. Now the government has adopted, on its second and final reading, the draft amending this decree.

The aim is to further strengthen safety, by specifying unauthorised behaviour that could harm passengers that may be penalised, detailing the powers of security guards and emphasising the importance of “conviviality between passengers, so everyone can travel in the best possible conditions”.

In addition to the ban on alcohol consumption, passengers can no longer disturb public order or security by occupying more than one seat, blocking entrances, exits and escalators.

Passengers must also put their luggage or any objects they are holding on the ground. The updated transport rules also ban begging in vehicles, at stops and in controlled areas of stations if carried out “in an intrusive or aggressive manner”.

The previous decree said travellers could not be disturbed by “unwanted physical contact”. The new decree goes further, saying this means “any unwanted behaviour with a sexual connotation, expressed physically, verbally or non-verbally, and which has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity and, in particular, of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment”.

The consumption of drugs and alcohol is added to the offence of causing a disturbance to public order or personal safety, and the decree also specifies the ban on being “obviously intoxicated”.

“This is a very important element for the Stib, in view of the situation encountered in recent months on its network, with an increase in drug abuse,” the public transport operator said.

For Stib chief executive Brieuc de Meeûs, the message is clear: “Respecting the rules is essential, not only for your own safety but also for that of others. These new rules clarify good and bad behaviour in a transparent way.”

He said the rules would prevent incidents and “encourage a more convivial atmosphere,” but were also “a regulatory basis that will enable our staff to punish inappropriate behaviour on public transport more quickly”.

The new decree therefore authorises security staff to fine anyone who does not comply with transport rules within a perimeter extended to 15 metres around Stib stations and stops.

“Everyone must be able to feel comfortable, welcome and safe on the entire Stib network,” said Brussels mobility minister Elke Van den Brandt.

"So, in addition to the new arrangements on the ground - increased presence of security teams and social patrols in the stations to support the voluntary sector - which will be operational in the coming months, the Stib has clarified its regulations."

She said these rules are now clearer for all Stib users, adapted to the new problematic behaviour observed on the network and “leave no doubt as to the interpretation of unauthorised behaviour by staff”.

The Stib governs four metro lines, 18 tram and 54 bus routes. It also operates 11 Noctis night lines and a transport service for people with disabilities.

Serving Brussels’ 19 communes and 11 peripheral communes, it covers 650km with no fewer than 2,190 stops, making some 1,300 journeys every day.

Written by Liz Newmark