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Brussels Public Transport

Brussels Public Transport

Old Jan 13, 19, 2:59 pm
  #1  
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Brussels Public Transport

It's only 3 or 4 years since I've been to Brussels, but the whole city public transport thing seems to have changed again. Just going onto the site of the STIB and looking at the map was enough to induce a migraine. I thought only the Germans had made such a fine art of making city transit so complicated and user unfriendly. So how does it work?? Really, it's a genuine question. I am one who always looks at city transit, in Germany, Switzerland, Italy, you name it, and I always master it. But this one quite blows me away. I am looking at taking the bus out to the airport (as I did last time, avoiding that stupid overpriced train) as well as making other trips around the city. Is just simply buying a one way ticket such a challenge? Or do I have to sell my soul to understand how this ridiculous STIB system works? Do I need to prepay 5 for some rechargeable card, valid for 5 years, and then load enough money onto it for the needed rides?
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Old Jan 14, 19, 2:47 am
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It works like any other transit system in Europe, you pay money and ride the bus, tram or metro

With the exception of the airport bus, every STIB/MIVB ride is the same cost, same ticket, no difference between bus, tram or metro. That's why the map looks like a bowl of spaghetti--the city is small enough that they felt the need to put every bus line on the map as well as metro and tram.

At the airport, there's a vending machine at the bus stop that will sell you a ticket for the airport bus, €4.50, also valid for the rest of your trip. Easy. Where it gets stupid is that for any other trip you can only buy single rides (€2.10, valid for unlimited transfers within 60 minutes) or 24-hour passes (€7.50) on paper tickets. For anything else, you need a plastic MOBIB card for €5. Then you can load 10-ride tickets for €14.

In the most Belgian solution ever, you can't load stored value--you buy 5-ride or 10-ride tickets or 24/48/72 hour passes, because that's how the paper tickets worked 10 years ago. To add insult to injury, you can load products on your card at the vending machines that every station has, but you have to get the card from a human being at a shop. At least you can get them 7 days a week? Locations here: www.stib-mivb.be (Bootik and Kiosk can both sell you a MOBIB card)
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Old Jan 14, 19, 6:24 am
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Thanks very much for the pointers and information. Actually, it will be a question of going to the airport, rather than taking the bus from the airport. So I hope all vending machines can sell the airport ticket. I will be starting from the Hilton Garden Inn at Berckmannsstraat 128. But this is a racket, isn't it? There's no way the airport bus ticket cost so much when I was last there. Having said that, I really liked jumping on and off buses and metro in Brussels.
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Old Jan 14, 19, 12:38 pm
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Originally Posted by Concerto View Post
Thanks very much for the pointers and information. Actually, it will be a question of going to the airport, rather than taking the bus from the airport. So I hope all vending machines can sell the airport ticket. I will be starting from the Hilton Garden Inn at Berckmannsstraat 128. But this is a racket, isn't it? There's no way the airport bus ticket cost so much when I was last there. Having said that, I really liked jumping on and off buses and metro in Brussels.
Yep, all vending machines will sell you an airport ticket, every metro station has at least one vending machine, and it's fine to use it to take the metro to Schuman to catch the airport bus.

The 4.50 bit is ridiculous; you can ride a hell of a lot farther for 2.10 (e.g. the 50 bus all the way to Lot), but I guess they figure they can soak people because it's still cheaper than the train. The worst part is that even if you pay them 500 a year for a pass, you still have to pay for the airport ride.
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Old Jan 14, 19, 5:14 pm
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Originally Posted by der_saeufer View Post
At the airport, there's a vending machine at the bus stop that will sell you a ticket for the airport bus, 4.50, also valid for the rest of your trip. Easy. Where it gets stupid is that for any other trip you can only buy single rides (2.10, valid for unlimited transfers within 60 minutes) or 24-hour passes (7.50) on paper tickets. For anything else, you need a plastic MOBIB card for 5. Then you can load 10-ride tickets for 14.

In the most Belgian solution ever, you can't load stored value--you buy 5-ride or 10-ride tickets or 24/48/72 hour passes, because that's how the paper tickets worked 10 years ago. To add insult to injury, you can load products on your card at the vending machines that every station has, but you have to get the card from a human being at a shop. At least you can get them 7 days a week?
If they had put this quote on their website I would have understood the system in 1 minute instead of 1 year.

That's why the map looks like a bowl of spaghetti--the city is small enough that they felt the need to put every bus line on the map as well as metro and tram.
Of course there should be some simplified maps, but I like maps that show every route too. And every transport network should just copy stops.lt for their info page. It really says something when I found it easier to navigate buses using the Sofia transport website (including sounding words out in the Cyrillic) than, say, De Lijn
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Old Feb 14, 19, 4:47 am
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No problem getting tickets at either end, you just have to validate it and re-validate it if you change bus or tram. I still think €4.50 is a rip off and obviously everyone is fed up with the train because the bus was always jammed, very uncomfortable and had nowhere to put baggage. Plus, it winds around the houses on what looks like an absurd route on the map, especially the 21. I changed at Da Vinci stop going in, about 3 or 4 stops from the airport, onto the tram system which was much quieter and more comfortable.

During the week, bus 12 operates the route from Luxembourg. At the weekend it becomes the 21, with a ridiculous route via the backstreets. Better to use Schuman as your hopping on and off point, there is a good connection to the metro there.
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