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The public transport network in Brussels (and in Belgium in general) is quite extensive and you will easily be able to go from one place to the other using the metro, tram or bus, at least during day time (from around 6AM to 11PM). The companies that manage the public transport system are:
- STIB/MIVB for metro, trams and buses within the Brussels city limits, plus the Airport bus to Brussels Airport
- TEC and DE LIJN for buses to Wallonia and Flanders respectively
- SNCB/NMBS (Belgian Railways) for trains : within the city, essentially on the track Midi-Central-Nord although trains to e.g. Namur, Luxembourg also stop at Schuman (the railway station next to the metro station) and Luxembourg
The metro network consists of 4 lines:
Line 1 (magenta) Gare de l'Ouest/Weststation to Stockel
Line 2 (red) Simonis-Leopold II to Simonis-Elisabeth (circular, but interrupted at Simonis where the 2 directions are on different levels)
Line 5 (yellow) Erasmus to Hermann-Debroux
Line 6 (blue, and "6" shaped) Simonis-Elisabeth to Roi Baudouin via Midi; direct connection from Midi to Heysel Exhibition Centre
Lines 1/5 intersect with 2/6 at Beekkant and Arts-Loi, while underground trams 3 and 4 link Midi with Nord via Bourse and De Brouckère.
Some interesting tram routes:
Line 92 starting in the North at the Schaerbeek railway station, crossing the Upper Town (stops at the Museums of Fine Arts, Place Royale, Petit Sablon, Palace of Justice, Avenue Louise (you can catch the Line 2 /6 metro), Place Stéphanie and running down Avenue Louise and Ch. de Waterloo to terminus at Fort Jaco.
Line 94 starts at Stade (near Heysel metro station) and travels via Botanique, Parc and Louise, down Avenue Louise, past the Universite Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), out to Watermael-Boitsfort, and ends up at metro station Hermann-Debroux (but the line is currently being extended to the Avenue de Tervueren linking up with trams to Montgomery.)
Line 81 no longer starts at Heysel but (together with the 82) connects Montgomery with Gare du Midi via Place Flagey, Avenue Louise and St. Gilles.
Line 44 to Tervueren starts inside Montgomery metro station (Line 1) and travels past the Parc de la Woluwe, tram museum and Forêt de Soignes to its terminus near the Africa Museum.
The third transport option is the bus.
There are a lot of lines so this describes one of them: line 71. A very famous "double-bus" line that crosses the most important area in the center of Brussels before reaching Ixelles and the University campuses.
Line 71 starts at Place de Brouckere and stops by the Galeries St-Hubert, Central station, Place Royale (for the museums of Fine Arts and the Music Instruments museums), Parc Royal and Royal Palace, and Porte de Namur (you can reach Avenue Louise with a short walk) before taking the Chaussee d'Ixelles (some good shopping to do there or you can visit Matonge, the Congolese neighborhood) as it gets deeper into Ixelles, you'll pass by l'Amour Fou (a very popular bar), La Maison de la Radio (Radio House) on Place Flagey, a recently renovated building that looks like an ocean liner and used to house the first years of the Belgian National radio. It is now a cultural center where you can see concerts and the bar has become quite popular. Just after is the stop of les Etangs d'Ixelles (Ixelles Ponds), 2 ponds that are a little oasis (many students come here to relax, you'll also see families on Sundays and elderly ladies feeding the ducks). The tram carries on to the main University campus (or Campus Solbosch) then, to the Campus shared by the ULB and VUB (its Flemish counterpart) or Campus de La Plaine and finishing its run at Delta where you can catch the metro.
Information and map
At any metro station, you can get a paper map of the network (plan du réseau) and buy STIB/MIVB cards, from ticket office or machines; more and more machines are now appearing at bus and tram stops also. You can also some of the STIB/MIVB cards in trams and buses (individual tickets cost more when you buy them from the driver). There are also commercial bureaux where you can buy all sorts of cards:
- Bureau ”Toison d’Or” (avenue de la Toison d’Or, 14, 1050 Brussels) : open Mon.-Sat. 10AM to 6PM
- Metro Station ”Porte de Namur” : open Mon.-Sat. 8AM to 5.30PM
- Metro Station ”Rogier” : open Mon.-Fri. 10AM to 5.30PM, Sat. 8AM to 5PM
- Metro Station ”Gare du Midi” : open Mon.-Fri. 7.30AM to 5.30PM, first and last Sunday of the month 8.30AM to 2PM
- Bureau ”De Brouckère” (rue de l'Evêque, 2, 1000 Brussels) : open Mon.-Sat. 10AM to 6PM
- Metro Station ”Roodebeek” : open Mon.-Fri. 10AM to 5PM, first and last Saturday of the month 10AM to 5PM
BOOTIKs at various metro stations, e.g. Mérode, Montgomery.
Cards and fares
These cards allow you to travel on the metro, bus, tram and train systems (except on lines 12/21 between NATO and Brussels Airport and on the special night buses that run between midnight and 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights):
MOBIB is a plastic chip-card which has to be validated at metro stations or on buses/trams by holding it against the white circle on the red machines; JUMP is a paper/card ticket that has to be stamped in orange machines; each individual ticket or stamping/swiping of multi-trip ticket entitles you to unlimited changes of metro, tram or bus for 60 minutes, but you have to stamp/swipe your card on each new means of transport (except metro, unless you exit the system and then go back in again). Multi-trip cards are not nominative and so can be used between more than one person. Fares information as of January 2011 prices are as follows:
- 1-trip card: MOBIB €1.60; JUMP €1.80 pre-purchased; € 2.00 from bus or tram driver
- 5-trip card: € 7.30
- 10-trip card: MOBIB €11.20, JUMP €13.50
- 1-day card: MOBIB €4.30, JUMP €4.50
- 3-day card: MOBIB €9.20, JUMP €9.50
For paper ticket , as of March 2016
1 fare (purchased outside vehicle): 2,10 €
1 fare (purchased inside vehicle) 2,50 €
1 day JUMP: 7,50 € (Airport Line 12&21 included)
It is now obligatory to board most buses (except the long "bendy-buses", before 20.00 hrs) only at the front so that the driver can check that passengers punch their tickets or show a pass.
Art in the metro
Many metro stations are worth a stop as they have been beautifully decorated by famous Belgian artists. Metro station “Anneessens” is decorated with paintings by Alechinsky and Dotremont, “Bourse/Beurs” with paintings by Paul Delvaux, “Montgomery” with a painting by Folon, “Stockel” with comics of Tintin, Horta with cast-iron by Horta, “Porte de Hal” with paintings by Schuiten.
Website : http://www.stib.be
For more info, call (+32) 2 512 2000 or from within Belgium, 02/512 2000