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 transportation network, how all the different ticket systems work and what kind of tickets you should buy to get the cheapest rate.


Index:


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.
De Lijn operates tram and bus lines in Flanders
TEC operates tram and bus lines in Wallonie
MIVB/STIB operates bus, tram and metro lines in Brussels


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.

The Mobib Travel Card costs 5€ and is valid for 5 years.

More Information: https://www.stib-mivb.be/article.html?l=en&_guid=30af0085-2483-3410-5394-a71daf08acd1

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.

Single ticket fares vary according to the destination.
Weekend tickets, starting from Friday after 19:01, are 50% cheaper.
A 10 journey railpass costs 76€ and is valid throughout the entire Belgian railway network.

Children under 12 always travel for free, teenagers and students and elderly can also count on some discounts.

Travelers and backpackers under the age of 26 you can buy a Go Pass 1 that will bring you to any destination in Belgium for the fixed rate of 6.60€. There is also a Go Pass for 10 trips available at the price of 55€. During the Belgian school holidays you can even get a special Go Unlimited Pass, allowing you to travel all across Belgium for just 18€ for an entire week or 29€ for a whole month (only in July & August). That means you could take a train anywhere in Belgium for online 1€ per day for an entire month.

A regular rail pass for 10 trips costs 76€. Its valid for a year, and you can even let your friends or family travel with you on the same pass.

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

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.

A supplemental Airport Supplement, called Diablo Tax can be charged on top of your regular railway ticket, depending on your category of traveling. Find out more about it on this link: https://www.belgiantrain.be/en/tickets-and-railcards/airports/diabolo-fee


Brussels Public Transport system

There are 3 different companies operating bus, tram and metro lines in Brussels. However they all share the same ticketing system, called the Brupass, which makes it very easy to get around in Brussels by bus and metro. In order to use the Brussels Public Transport system, it’s required to buy a Mobib travel card first at the price of 5€.

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 journey Brupass15€20€
Day Pass7.5€n/a
Brupass Ticket Fares 2021

Generally tourists only need a a Brupass XL ticket to get to the airport and back. If you plan on doing more then 3 singe trips a day, it’s cheaper to buy a day pass.

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 tram & bus lines in Flanders are operated bij De Lijn. 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 it’s definitely not necessary to use the trams and busses in Flanders. You can buy tickets in presale at trainsstations, grocery stores, kiosk’s etc. But it’s even cheaper to buy a mobile ticket using the offical app for Android or Iphone.

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 3€ in presale.
A single m-ticket costs 1€80 and is available on the official app of “De Lijn”.
Lijn cards are pre-paid cards. They cost 16€ for 10 rides.
Daypasses cost 6€ in presale and are available at Railway Stations, news paper stalls and grocery stores. When you buy them on the bus or tram, you’ll pay 8€.

A MOBIB travel pass is currently not necessary for using the flanders public transport system, but if you have one, you can of course use it.

Routeplanner De Lijn: https://www.delijn.be/nl/routeplanner/


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 presale 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 presale, 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 presale 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 presale you’ll pay 5€ and on board 5€50.