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Belgium Public Transport Guide

The Belgium public transport network is quite extensive, making it easy to travel through Belgium on train, tram or bus. At first our public transport system might sound a bit confusing for foreigners, since it’s nearly as divided as our local governments. Luckily it’s far much easier to explain and rather convenient to use, once you get a hang of it and know the tricks.

In this guide I will try to explain everything you need to know about getting around in Belgium using the public transport network, how all the different ticket systems work and what kind of tickets you should buy to get the cheapest rate.

Last update: 29 september 2022

Index of the Belgium Public Transport Guide

Overview:

There are 4 different transport companies operating the public transport lines in Belgium. It has to be noted that all of these companies and lines offer great connection with each other.

  • SNCB/NMBS operates the national railway services.
  • MIVB/STIB operates bus, tram and metro lines in Brussels
  • De Lijn operates tram and bus lines in Flanders
  • TEC operates tram and bus lines in Wallonie

The Mobib Travel Card:

All different transport companies use their own separate ticket systems and rates. To make things easier, the MOBIB Travel card was introduced in 2018. It’s a chipcard that allows you to buy all the tickets you’ll need with 1 card and top it up at one of the many dispenser points. The card is valid on the entire Belgian public transport system and it will ensure you to always get the cheapest fares, instead of having to buy much more expensive tickets on board.

Pricing: The Mobib Travel Card costs 5€ and is valid for 5 years.
More Info: https://www.stib-mivb.be/article.html?l=en&_guid=30af0085-2483-3410-5394-a71daf08acd1

FAQ: Frequently asked questions

Is it necessary to buy a Mobib Travel Card?

Only if you want to visit and travel around Brussels. Without Mobib Travel card you won’t be able to buy a Jump Ticket for the Brussels public transport system. For the rest of Flanders and Wallonia you don’t really need a Mobib Travel Card to get the cheapest public transport tickets, as long as you buy them in pre-sale instead of on-board. But having one sure does makes things much easier! Read more about this below.

Is it useful to buy a Mobib travel card?

The answer is probably yes! Having a Mobib travel card will make it easier buy all the tickets you need at the lowest fare possible.

Should I buy a Mobib travel card for my stay in Belgium?

This depends on how much your planning to travel around the country and rely on the public transport system. If you plan to visit and / or stay in Brussels, the Mobib travel card will needed in order to purchase JUMP Tickets at the lowest fare. However for the Belgian trains or to get around in Flanders and Wallonië, there are several other options to buy tickets tickets at the cheapest rate. Read more about this below.

Traveling by train in Belgium:

Belgium has an extended railway system, making it very easy to travel travel by train between all major cities and several smaller towns.

Tickets & fares:

  • Single ticket fares vary according to the destination.
  • 10 trips railpasses cost 87€ and can be shared with your friends or family
  • Weekend return tickets are 50% cheaper!
  • Children under 12 always travel for free
  • Are you under 26? A youth tickets lets you travel for 6.60€ per single trip

Single ticket fares:

Below are a few examples of the fares between most visited tourist destinations in Belgium.
Find your ticket rates and plan your journey on SNCB official website (belgiantrain.be)

Brussels (central station)Antwerp (central station)7.70€
Brussels (central station)Ghent (St-Pieters)9.30€
Brussels (central station)Bruges 14.70€
BrugesGhent (St-Pieters)6.80€
BrugesAntwerp (central station)15.40€
Ghent (St-Pieters)Antwerp (central station)9.90€
Last update: 8 June 2022, current prices might be different

Note that the MOBIB Travel card is not needed to get the best prices for NMBS/SNCB train tickets.

Standard Multi (Rail Pass 10 trips):

A Standard Multi Rail pass for 10 trips costs 87€ and is valid for an entire year. Unless you’re traveling short distance, the fixed price of 8.70€ per trip allows you to save extra money. However the best thing about this railpass is that you can share it with your family and friends.

Weekend Tickets:

During the weekends, return tickets are sold at half price! They can be used starting from Friday 7 p.m. until Sunday evening.

Youth tickets:

Travelers and backpackers from ages 12-25 can travel inexpensively with the youth ticket to any destination in Belgium for a fixed rate of 6.60€

Youth multi (Go Pass 10 trips)

The Youth Multi Go Pass is a cheap and share-able 10 journey pass for travelers from ages 12-25. It costs 55€ and allows you to travel anywhere in Belgium for a fixed rated of 5.50€. Just like the Standard Multi Rail Pass, it can be shared between family or friends.

Youth Holiday Pass

During the Belgian school holidays you can get a special Youth Holidays Pass, allowing you to travel all across Belgium for just 18€ for an entire week. In July and August you can also buy a Youth Holidays pass that’s valid for an entire month costing 29€

Brussels Airport Supplement (Diablo Fee):

Brussels – Zaventem Airport has a underground train-station with up to 6 trains per hour, bringing you to all major Belgian cities and beyond. It’s an end-station wich means it will only serve passagers who arrive and depart at Brussels Zaventem Airport.

An additional Airport Supplement of 5.70€ per journey, called Diablo Tax, shall be charged on top of your regular railway ticket. Find out more about it on this link: https://www.belgiantrain.be/en/tickets-and-railcards/airports/diabolo-fee

Brussels Public Transport system:

The Brussels Public Transport system consists out of 3 different companies, who each run their own coaches, trams and metro lines. The good news is that they all share the same ticketing system, called the Brupass. This makes it very easy to get around in Brussels by bus, tram and metro.

In order to buy a Brupass ticket, it’s required to buy a Mobib travel card first at the price of 5€. This card will always help you get the lowest fares and is valid throughout the whole country.

The Brupass is valid all around Brussels city centre on all public transport networks. The Brupass XL allows you to travel to the outskirts of Brussels and Brussels Airport.

Ticket TypeBrupassBrupass XL
Single journey Brupass2,40€3,10€
10 journey Brupass15,60€21€
Day Pass7.80€n/a
Brupass Ticket Fares 2021

When you plan on doing more then 3 single trips in a day, buying a Day Pass will be the cheaper option.

More information: https://www.belgiantrain.be/en/tickets-and-railcards/train-and-other-transport/train-bus-tram-metro/brussels
Brussels Public transport maphttp://www.stib-mivb.be/irj/go/km/docs/resource/Plan_tiny/index-en.html

Public Transport in Flanders:

The local public transport system in Flanders consists mainly out of bus & tram lines, which are all operated by De Lijn.

Tickets & Rates:

Single tickets are valid for 60 minutes. Within this time period you can change lines unlimited. After the 60 minutes you can continue your ride towards your destination. If you need to change lines again, you need to buy a new ticket.

  • Single Tickets cost 2.50€
  • Lijn cards are prepaid cards. They cost 17€ for 10 rides.
  • Day passes cost 7,50€

Routeplanner

In order to plan your route and consult the timetables it’s best to download the official “De Lijn” app from your appstore. This app is available in English and thanks to the route planner, it will notify you when you reached your destination. Tickets can be bought through the app as well.

Weblink: https://www.delijn.be/en/routeplanner/

Where to buy your tickets:

The easiest and most convenient way to buy your De Lijn tickets is buy using the official app.

SMS tickets are available, by simply texting DL to 4884. Please keep in mind that your cellphone-provider will charge you a small amount extra.

On-board you can by a single journey ticket by using a contactless bank card or other medium. Simply hold it in front of the white terminal and wait for the validation.

Finally you can buy your single ticket or 10 trip tickets from various selling points. You can locate them by using this link: https://www.delijn.be/en/storelocator/

If you already have a MOVIB travel pass, you can use it as a carrier to buy your tickets at one of the ticket vending machines. However the card is not necessary in order to purchase “De Lijn” tickets.

Public Transport in Wallonia:

Busses and tram lines in Wallonie are operated by TEC. It’s advised to buy your tickets in advance, since on-board tickets are much more expensive. If you have a MOVIB travel pass, it will come in handy, but alternatively you can buy tickets in pre-sale at the SELF-ticket vending machines you will find at trainstations or across big cities.

Just like in Brussels and Flanders are Single tickets valid for 60 minutes. Within this time period you can change lines unlimited. After the 60 minutes you can continue your ride towards your destination. If you need to change lines again, you need to buy a new ticket.

There are 3 kinds of single tickets, depending on the distance you’re traveling:

  • A single Next ticket will bring you across up to 2 zones and costs 2€ in pre-sale, or 2,50€ on board. This ticket will get you all around the city.
  • A single Horizon ticket has no zone limitation and costs 3€ in pre-sale or 3€50 on board. These tickets are used to cover medium distrances and travel towards or between cities.
  • A single Horizon plus ticket includes the fast busses which cover larger distances between different towns. In pre-sale you’ll pay 5€ and on board 5€50.

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