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Traffic disruption expected as drivers protest Brussels mobility policies
Hundreds of cars, taxis and motorbikes are expected to descend on the area in front of Brussels North station on Thursday morning from 9.30 as part of a demonstration against the mobility policies implemented in Brussels by the regional government.
Police have warned that large-scale traffic disruption is expected around Boulevard du Roi Albert II, the inner ring road and Boulevard du Régent in the morning and early afternoon, and that these areas should be avoided. They also urge people to consider taking public transport or use bicycles when possible as an alternative.
The organisers of the demonstration, including the associations Mauto Défense, Elite Taxi Belgium, Taxi United, the Belgian Taxi Federation (FeBeT) and the Professional Union of Taxi Operators and Taxis (UPETTC), are urging the regional government to reconsider current initiatives and future plans which limit, or will eventually prohibit, motorised transport in the city centre. These include the Zone 30 speed reduction areas, the Low Emission Zone, the reduction of parking spaces and the increasing spread of areas closed to traffic.
"Until now, it is still cars that account for most of our mobility,” explained the president of the non-profit Mauto Défense, Lucien Beckers. “To want to remove them is like wanting to eliminate nuclear power without having other sources of electricity. You cannot do everything on foot. I am currently transporting goods in a van, and I do not see how to do it any other way. But there are many other reasons to use a car."
FeBeT President Khalid Ed-Denguir complained that "mobility policies are redrawing all of Brussels and we have not even been consulted. There is no consultation."
In a bid to open dialogue, a delegation from the organising associations has requested a meeting with mobility minister Elke Van den Brandt at her office on Boulevard Saint-Lazare early on Thursday.
The expected procession of motorised vehicles is then expected to head towards Boulevard du Régent in support of the delegation at around 11.00. A meeting between representatives and Brussels minister-president Rudi Vervoort is scheduled for midday, where the proposed ‘Taxi Plan’ for reforming the sector will also be discussed.