Brussels transportation guide
The easiest way to get around the city centre, within the petit ring, is to walk , but, to get from one side of the centre to the other, or to reach some of the outlying attractions, you will need to use public transport . Operated by STIB (information line tel 02 515 20 00, www.stib.be ), the urban system runs on an integrated mixture of bus, tram, underground tram (prÃƒÂ©mÃƒÂ©tro) and mÃƒÂ©tro lines that covers the city comprehensively. It's a user-friendly network, with every station carrying mÃƒÂ©tro-system diagrams and with timetables posted at most bus and tram stops.
Brussels has 3 metro lines, many buses and some tramways, all run by STIB/MIVBÃ‚Â (http://www.stib.irisnet.be/). A card that can be used for ten rides with public transport costs 10,00 Ã¢â€šÂ¬. One hour tickets cost 1,50 Ã¢â€šÂ¬ and are available from the driver. One, five and ten ride tickets are available at almost all metro and train stations, and possibly at newspaper kiosks. You validate the ticket in the orange box on the bus, or at the orange boxes at the metro and tramway stations before entering the platform. The orange boxes time-stamp the ticket, both in ink and magnetically, and it will be valid for one hour. You can interrupt your ride and interchangeably use any STIB/MIVB transport. You should revalidate your ticket for each new ride. There are also one-day tickets available, for 3,80 Ã¢â€šÂ¬. On Saturdays, Sundays and holidays you can take another person with you.
Tickets are fairly cheap. A single ticket costs ?1.35, a strip of five ?5.95, and a strip of ten ?8.90, available either from tram or bus drivers, mÃƒÂ©tro kiosks, or from newsagents displaying the STIB sign. These can be used on any part of the STIB system. Tickets can also be obtained from automatic machines at all mÃƒÂ©tro stations. A go-as-you-please carte d'un jour , for ?3.60, allows for 24 hours of city-wide travel on public transport.
The mÃƒÂ©tro system consists of two underground train lines - lines #1 and #2. Line #1 runs west-east through the centre, and splits into two branches (#1A and #1B) at either end to serve the city's suburbs. Line #2 circles the centre. Brussels has a substantial tram system serving the city centre and the suburbs. These trams are at their speediest when they go underground to form what is sometimes called the prÃƒÂ©mÃƒÂ©tro , part of the system which runs underneath the heart of the city from Bruxelles-Nord, through De BrouckÃƒÂ¨re and Bourse, to Bruxelles-Midi, Porte de Hal and on underneath St Gilles.
At the beginning of each journey , you're trusted to stamp your ticket yourself, either in the machines provided on each and every mÃƒÂ©tro station concourse or in the machines located inside every tram and bus. After that, the ticket is valid for an hour, during which you can get on and off as many trams, mÃƒÂ©tros and buses as you like. The system can seem open to abuse, as ticket controls at the mÃƒÂ©tro stations are almost non-existent and you can get on at the back of any tram without ever showing a ticket. But bear in mind that there are roving inspectors who impose heavy on-the-spot fines for anyone caught without a valid ticket. Finally, remember that doors on mÃƒÂ©tros, trams and buses have to be opened manually.
STIB route maps are available free from the BI-TC tourist office and from major mÃƒÂ©tro stations. The STIB has information kiosks at Porte de Namur, Rogier and Midi mÃƒÂ©tro stations. Amongst the multitude of routes, times of operation and frequency vary considerably, but key parts of the system operate from 6am until midnight. Lone travellers should avoid the mÃƒÂ©tro late at night.
In addition to the STIB network there are local trains , run by Belgian Railways, which connect different parts of the inner city and the outskirts, though unless you're living and working here, you're unlikely to need to use them. These trains use the city's three main stations, as well as four smaller ones - Bruxelles-Chapelle, Bruxelles-Quartier LÃƒÂ©opold, Bruxelles-Schuman and Bruxelles-CongrÃƒÂ¨s.
Click on the map for an enlargement.