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Brussels travel zone could be extended to 16 suburbs
Commuters living in the suburbs just outside the Brussels region could soon pay the same as Brussels residents to travel around the city, under new plans to extend the MTB season ticket zone.
The €583 annual pass currently allows unlimited travel on the Stib network as well as SNCB trains and De Lijn and TEC buses within the confines of the Brussels region.
Brussels member of parliament Emmanuel De Bock said the current pricing structure was absurd and penalised those who cross the regional border for work.
A commuter can travel from one side of Brussels to the other, from Jette to Uccle, on a train-only season ticket for €394. But the two-minute train ride from Berchem-Sainte-Agathe (in Brussels) to Groot-Bijgaarden (in Flanders) costs €620 a year.
The Brussels parliament has approved a resolution to widen the MTB zone to 16 towns within 5km of the edge of Brussels, such as Linkebeek, Rhôde-Saint-Genèse and Vilvoorde.
De Bock now hopes the passed resolution will prompt mobility minister Pascal Smet to plead for an extension of the MTB zone. He estimates that 21,000 passengers would benefit.
In related news, Brussels employment agency Actiris wants more jobseekers to consider vacant positions in Flanders and Wallonia.
Companies in Vilvoorde, Diegem and Zaventem have reported having difficulty finding candidates in Brussels who are willing to cross the border for work.
Actiris said public transport concerns were a major factor, closely followed by language. The agency says 11% of Brussels residents currently work outside the region and this has grown by a third in the past decade.