Exploring the Contradictions: The High Stib Ticket Prices and the Future of the Brussels Metro – A Comprehensive Analysis

2023-10-28 05:11:00

The government, however, plans to increase the prices of the Stib ticket, via indexation. The signal is contradictory, even though STIB had been made free for young people. “Overall, we have still done a lot in terms of accessibility of public transport during this legislature. There is still almost free access for young people and the elderly, with preferential rates maintained. And above all, for 10 years, there had been no indexation of prices,” adds this philosophy graduate, former member of the Center for Socio-Political Research and Information (Crisp).

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“The political actors in favor of the metro can be as numerous as they want, that doesn’t do much in the face of three billion euros.”

While investments in mobility occupied a large part of the budgetary debates, the metro was paradoxically relatively absent. Work on metro 3 between Albert station and Gare du Nord will certainly continue. The government of Rudi Vervoort, on the other hand, has handed over to the next majority a famous hot potato: the question of continuing, or not, the very expensive section of Metro 3 between Gare du Nord and Bordet station. “It is a wise decision,” points out John Pisteys, speaking of this decision to postpone this question until 2024. It must be followed by a necessarily important discussion on the relevance of financing this second section. The metro is part of my life. When I was a teenager, I came across an advertisement in every train that people of my generation know by heart. We see a man holding out his hand. Below it is written: ‘Need money? Maurice Noël, installment loan’. But there you go, Maurice Noël does not exist. If it’s not Maurice Noël, who pays?”

The financing project presented by Sven Gatz in La Libre, including in particular the kilometer tax, did not convince the head of the Ecolo group. “I would have liked to have a timing, a method and a financing plan, but at this stage, no one can find them. The opposition’s financing plan can be summed up in one sentence: ‘We need an ambition for Brussels’. And when we ask them how we pay for it, they answer: ‘We need an ambition for Brussels’. I too have ambition for Brussels. But I put it in the need to rebuild swimming pools, as recently with Neptunium, to create sports fields, to develop public spaces, to bring greenery to the city, to create new tram and bus lines . I don’t work for Brussels concrete.”

Green, clearly, considers the metro unfundable. Why not say it simply and stop everything, without waiting for 2024? “It’s not me who should be asked the question. I know that there are quite a few political actors who are in favor of the metro. But they can be as numerous as they want, this number does not do much compared to three billion euros (Editor’s note: the cost of the metro section between Gare du Nord and Bordet), retorts the Brussels MP. If the MR wants to finance the metro, he should propose something serious. Simply saying that we need a public-private partnership is not serious, even for the residents. This means starting all the work from scratch. And promise the people of Brussels that they will have a metro in 5 years, knowing full well that they will not have it in 10 or 15 years, at best.”

In these conditions, the question that arises is clear: Does Écolo want to save the Brussels metro or not? “(Very long pause). Telling Brussels residents that they need a metro without having the means to pay for it is irresponsible. Engaging in work without being sure of financing it on the one hand, while being certain, on the other hand, that it will gut entire neighborhoods of Brussels for 5 or 10 years, is also irresponsible. Anyone who appears before the people of Brussels without having a vision of mobility or knowing how to fight against territorial inequalities is playing the banjo.”

John Pitseys is targeting the MR, and David Leisterh, who hopes to replace the PS as Minister Presidency. “I read the interview with Ridouane Chahid in La Libre (head of the PS group in the Brussels Parliament.) He was almost charitable with the MR. Because he felt that with this MR, it would not be easy to govern. For the question of governing with them to arise, the MR must first be clear about its desire to govern rather than simply win the elections. The MR has been in opposition for 20 years and the people of Brussels have not the slightest idea of ​​what he would do if he were to assume responsibility. And that is not responsible. At this stage of mastering the smokescreen, it’s fine art.”

Ridouane Chahid (PS): “If the MR continues to have a discourse close to the extreme right, it will be complicated to govern with them”
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