New year, new me(tro)

2020 has begun, and the Brussels public transport company STIB has resolved to prepare for the challenges of a new decade by introducing a number of significant measures.

In an effort to address the wasteful process by which single-use paper tickets are printed from metro station machines before being consigned to the dustbin following one short journey, STIB has announced that it will raise the price of its paper tickets by €0.50. It is hoped that this action will deter transport users from partaking in the unnecessary practice of printing excessive quantities of paper. The price increase will coincide with the introduction of a pilot phase for contactless payment, which means that commuters in Brussels will be able to use their contactless bank cards and smartphones at tram stops and metro gates. These changes are expected to be implemented by April or May of 2020.

STIB has also released details of its plan to expand the network and improve facilities as the year progresses. Central to this project will be the creation of a new line (metro line 3), which will begin at Albert and will work its way northwards before concluding at Haren.

Additionally, from April onward, STIB will launch a trial period for its new multi-modal system. With the assistance of 2,000 volunteers, the MAAS (mobility as a service system) system will collate the services of a number of different providers across a variety of modes – ranging from rail, bus, train, shared cars and electric scooters – into one application in the aim to improve the experience of public transport for its users.

In an interview conducted by the Belgian news outlet L’Echo, STIB CEO Brieuc de Meeus expressed optimism in the developments, citing them as “a major step in the digitalisation of public transport”.