Transport in Brussels
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Updated last year

When moving to Brussels and starting a new job, you're going to want to know a little bit about what transport options are on offer before deciding on a place to live. Generally speaking, the city has quite good public transport although Brussels does suffer from some terrible traffic during the day and especially so when the Council of Europe have a meeting.

It is very easy to get around though, and there are lots of different transport options available depending on how you prefer to get around and where you're heading to.

Public transport

As Brussels' roads are very congested, the best way to get around is often by public transport and buses, trams and metros are the most common form of transport although you could just about get a train within the city from one station to another. While buses are generally quite quick as they have their own bus lanes, they do sometimes get stuck in all of the traffic. When the Council of Europe has a meeting, for instance, it is probably best to head to work early if your route passes Schuman on the way as traffic grinds to a halt. Brussels also has lots of tram lines weaving their way around the city, and they're a great way to get around. In fact, it's almost impossible to use public transport in Brussels without taking a tram at some point or another. Metro is generally the quickest and most efficient way to move around the city although many parts of Brussels don't have a metro line near them. There are only four metro lines, and this is partly the reason why so many people use buses and trams in the city. Public transport runs from 5.30am to just past midnight and at weekend nocturnal buses run if you want to stay in the centre past the last metros or trams. A monthly travel card costs 50 euros and this gains you access to all public transport, and you can use it as much as you like. Lots of companies give employees a travel card allowance as part of their contract. If buying a single ride, tickets cost 2,10⬠outside of the bus or tram and 2,50⬠on it.

Bicycle

Cycling is a popular pastime in Belgium, and every weekend you'll see groups of colourfully-clad cyclists making their way around the Belgian countryside. Despite this, Brussels is not particularly bike-friendly, and you will find yourself competing for your space on the road with an endless stream of cars. As such you should always wear high visibility clothes and stick to the rules of the road. Brussels is also deceptively hilly, and some routes are therefore much more pleasant and more accessible than others. Things have improved somewhat for cyclists in recent years, and many people who bike to and from work wouldn't contemplate taking any other form of transport. It can, for instance, be the quickest way to get around the city when the roads are clogged.

Walking

As Brussels isn't that large for a capital city, it is possible to walk to a lot of places depending on where you live. The European Quarter, for instance, is easily in walking distance of the neighbourhoods of Bruxelles-ville, Saint-Gilles, Etterbeek and Schaerbeek. Although you can certainly walk from one part of the city to another, it is a good idea to bring an umbrella with you since the weather in Brussels isn't always the nicest.

Car

While driving around Brussels from one point to another can take you next to no time at all during the evening, during the day the city suffers from awful congestion as so many people pour into the capital to head to their jobs. In fact, it regularly ranks among the worst congested cities in Europe. It depends on your route however and where you work to know if it makes sense to commute by car. As there are so many cars on the roads, parking can also be a problem and can turn a relatively short journey into a longer one as you drive around looking for a space to park. The number of people commuting to work by car is partly due to the fact that Belgian companies often provide employees with a vehicle as part of their contract.

Shared mobility transport

Nowadays there are quite a few different ways to get around Brussels when it comes to shared mobility transport. Different options were created to encourage people to get out of their cars and use other forms of transportation. As such it is now common to see someone shooting by on an e-scooter which for shorter journeys can be a lot quicker than going somewhere by car. If you want to cycle around Brussels for example but don't own a bike, then villo bikes are stationed all around the city for you to use. Just hop on one at the docking station nearest to you and drop it off at the one nearest to where you're going. E-scooters have also become very popular, and various companies operate apps which help you to locate them around the city. Once you've completed your journey, you don't even have to return it to a docking station ' simply leave it on the street, and someone else will use it before too long. While carpooling is still uncommon, it is growing in popularity as the city tries to get cars off of the roads and at sites such as carpool.be you may find somewhere to share a ride with. If you don't want to own a car in Brussels for all the associated costs that they bring then cambio and zipcar are just two carsharing companies that have cars scattered all around the city for you to use when you want.

Taxis and Uber

The most expensive way to get around is to take a taxi, but late at night, they are almost a necessity as you won't find much in terms of public transport. In recent years Uber has gained in popularity, and lots of people now prefer it as it is cheaper than taking a taxi. The pick-up fare for a taxi during the day is 2,40⬠and 4,40⬠at night which is from 10 pm to 6 am. Within the capital, the fare is set at 1,80⬠per kilometre.

Transport out of Brussels

Brussels is very well connected to the surrounding cities in Belgium, and the main train stations are Brussels Schuman, Brussels Luxembourg, Brussels North, Brussels South and Brussels Central. While the trains are generally very well run, delays can occur as international trains are given priority over local ones. The Eurostar, for instance, stops at Brussels South and from here you reach London in just two hours. The city is also very well connected to the outside world, and the main airport of Zaventem is where most flights depart from although Charleroi Airport, an hour away from Brussels in the south of the country, is where lots of the cheaper flights depart from.

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