Brussels appears to have a well thought-out public transport system, although we only used it a couple of times on our short visit. The network of metro trains, trams and buses is operated as one, and interchanges between the different transport types are easy as stations cover several or all of them. Tickets are known as JUMP tickets because you can use them to jump from one form of transport to another. All tickets have to be validated each time you get on a bus, tram or metro.
You can choose from a variety of JUMP tickets, so it pays to think ahead about how many journeys you’re likely to be making while in the city. Here are some sample prices:
Single ticket – 1.50 EUR
5-ride ticket – 6.70 EUR
10-ride ticket – 10.50 EUR
Day pass – 4.00 EUR
We enjoyed glorious weather while visiting Brussels and much preferred walking as a means of transport. I do realise the weather is not always sunny ha ha and public transport plays a big part in city life. All forms of transport are modern, cheap and efficient. I particularly liked the hired bike idea = just pop the required euros into the machine and off you go but be warned traffic is chaotic around here - pedestrians should be well warned about street crossings = trams have right of way or priority even when the Green Man flashes!!
The buses and trams are very efficient. In Brussels, there is a unique price. You can buy a card for the day (3.80 euros) or a card for 3 days (9.00 euros), 5 days (12 euros) if you stay longer it is better with the card that gives you 10 travels (9.80 euros). All these cards are good for the trains in Brussels, the trams, the subway and the buses. The subway is easy to understand, but be careful with all the trams and buses that goes around and in brussels... there is so many lines!!!
Yes, yes, there are also red double deck busses in Brussels, so it is not only in London.
Of course in London these red busses are for public transport, here in Brussels it are special sightseeing busses.
There are several companies which are offering sightseeing tours along all the highlights in Brussels. This can be a good option if you do not have much time or if you want to get a general over view of this fantastic city.
Most companies work with the system of hop on, hop off, and they give explanation in several languages.
One of these companies is the Brussels City Tours, which offer different tours, more information you can finds on their website (see below)
We were there for little time and our B&B was within walking distance to most of what we wanted to see, so we walked a lot and bought single tickets for the bus and tram.
A single ticket costs 1,70 euros (adult) if you buy it on the machines before you board the vehicle, or 2 euros if you buy it from the driver, it's valid for 1 hour and you can use it to change between buses, trams and metro lines within that hour. After buying the ticket, cancel it on the machine to avoid fines of any kind.
For longer stays or if you think you'll use public transportation a lot, there's a variety of cards that you can use.
I believe every one knows that Brussels is a big, a very big city. So if you are not used of driving around in Brussels, then it is wise to park your car just outside the city.
So did I, I parked my car near the King Boudewijn football stadium, there was plenty of parking space along the Houba de stroper avenue, and also very near the Metro station.
The metro stations are easy to recognise, by the big blue M - signs.
In the Metro station there are ticket counters where you can buy your ticket.
But sometimes these ticket counters are closed, and then you can buy a ticket at the ticket machine.
There are several different types of cards. So first check out which ticket suits you most.
I have a ticket which is good for 10 rides.
There is an information board in the station which shows all the different possibilities.
The Metro system of Brussels works differently then the metro system in other big cities I visited before.
In most metro systems you have to put a ticket or a token in a machine and then a gate opens and you can enter the metro station.
Well here in Brussels there are no gates, you can just walk in.
But you must not forget to devaluate your ticket before you enter the station. At every entry of a Metro station there are these orange coloured devaluation machines.
If you’re controlled on the Metro without a ticket or without a devaluated ticket, you will be fined. And that will cost you much more then the small price of a ticket.
So once you have devaluated your ticket, you can continue to the desired platform.
Every Metro line has its own colour. Every where there are boards with the big maps showing the different lines and stations.
Once you have found the right line, choose the platform, the directions are announced by the terminal stations.
There are digital sign boards which show the location of the Metro and how much minutes you have to wait till it arrives.
Have a nice trip.
Besides the good functioning Metro system, Brussels also has a good network of public transport that goes above the ground.
There are plenty of busses and trams that cross the whole city.
At the website of the Brussels public transport company MIVB / STIB you can easily find out which bus or tram you have to take to get the fastest connection to your final destination.
As from April 4th 2009 the Brussels Metro has been extended and now has four underground lines plus two tram lines which pretty much cover the whole city. Line 1 (magenta) runs across the city between Gare de l'Ouest to Stocke, Line 2 (orange) loops between Simonis Leopold II and Simonis Elisabeth, Line 5 (yellow) goes through the city from Erasme in the south west to Hermann-Debroux in the south east and line 6 (blue) spirals out from Simonis Elisabeth to Roi Baudouin. Lines 3 and 4 (green and pink) are the trams travelling, respectively, between Gare de Nord to Churchill and Esplanade to Stalle P.
For a print-friendly map click Metro Map and follow the link.
There are a variety of ticket options including single tickets, 5 and 10 journey tickets, 1 day and 3 day passes as well as various group and disabled discount tickets. All tickets have to be validated in the yellow machines before travelling and single tickets are valid for any complete journey including transfers. There are two types of ticket, the MOBIB card and the JUMP ticket which are valid on the whole metro, bus and tram network with the exception of the airport buses (for which a separate ticket is required). Tickets can be purchased from machines and manned offices at all stations as well as various other outlets. At the time of writing a single JUMP ticket is 1.70 Euros and a one-day JUMP ticket 4.50.
Station locations are well signposted (look for the white on blue M) and the system is very easy to navigate with excellent signage in the stations and most stations have an electronic train tracker which tells you when and where the next train is.
Brussels integrated transport system is very impressive. At first sight it appears to be an absence of trams in the centre – but then you realise that many of them have been put into tunnels under the city. This means they are remarkably efficient – avoiding most of the snarl-ups that city centre inevitably create.
Some of the stops in the centre are therefore down flights of steps and/or shared with metro stops. If you are not in a great hurry, then it is often possible to visit outlying sights by tram rather than by metro. For example route 81 takes you right out to the Atomium in the north.
When planning your route, don’t forget that on the transit maps buses and trams are shown in the same fashion, so you need to consult the more detailed information to see if it a ‘T’ (Tramroute) or a ‘B’ (busroute)
Over the holiday period (xmas / new year 2003/4) there has been a free minibus service running around the centre of Brussels : route 8.
It connects together most of the shopping, cultural and tourist sites in the city.
If it is a success, then it could well be introduced on a permanent basis from mid 2004.
It's an excellent idea - so support it now !
You can get it's route from blowing up the picture or going to the website noted.
The metro network might be a little bit overwhelming if you have just arrived and try to find out how and where to go.
Nathalie (Nathalie_B) and me were making our way to the map hanging near the ticket counter of the metro in Central Station basement, or this gentle guy came to the rescue!
He must have notices our desperate faces (see picture).
He asked where we were going to and pointed out what lines to take. No he didn’t asked where we were going to that evening `-)
We thought he was soooooooooo kind we wanted to have this forever burned on a picture.
I often complain about the stressed and sometimes bold people in Brussels so when I find a nice friendly person I put the spotlight on him!
I hope I find so many that Brussels won’t need no more streetlights at night `-)
You can buy tickets at several prices (one drive; several drives; groups ticket of 5 persons, day ticket) at the vendor machine, or you can buy them at the ticket counter.
Check first the lines in front of both and then the person behind the counter `-)
If he is smiling and friendly, go there and say hello.
Don't forget to value your ticket when entering the metro station!
When you go from one place to another, it is best to check how far you need to go. Metro is often a good solution to safe time, you will miss what is above you, but sometimes that can be heavy traffic streets with nothing but uggly concrete office buildings.
Consider buying a day card at less then 2 Euro.
When you are going to stay together the whole day with a group, consider to buy a groups ticket. You can have groups tickets of maximum 10 persons.
Find the right balance between walking and sightseeing and traveling by metro and saving time!