Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Brussels Tram System

Intermodal integration

The system exists in an interesting local government context, because Brussels is a self-governing region, in fact an enclave within Flanders, although lying only some 3.3 kilometres from Wallonia at the closest point. This means that three-way deals are necessary between Brussels’ own STIB/MIVB, Flanders’ De Lijn and Wallonia’s TEC. Within the range of transport modes operated by STIB/MIVB (the Brussels Intercommunal Transport Company) trams fall between buses and a heavy metro. But beyond that, STIB sees itself as a provider of mobility rather than just public transport, and has a 49% share in the town’s Cambio car sharing franchise. 

The Brussels conurbation – its 19 municipalities plus adjoining commuter belt – is also served by a fairly dense network of main-line trains. There is a good level of interticketing, and multiple-journey cards are interchangeable. A simple tariff system permits passengers to make unlimited changes with a one-hour period at a cost of €2.50 when bought from the driver or €2.00 when bought from a ticket machine.
Ridership has been rising, and other user-friendly features that have grown up through custom and practice help this. For instance passengers open the doors themselves by pressing a green strip on the central pole, and drivers usually make a point of waiting for latecomers. However overcrowding at rush hours and at weekend is common, and fare-dodging is reputedly quite high, despite periodic enforcement campaigns.

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