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Local Public Transport in Belgium
Local bus and tram services in Belgium are operated under the auspices of three organisations:
Websites are, as is often the case in Belgium, in the local language(s) only, but a little experimentation will lead you to a lot of information!
The main thing visitors need to know is how much it all costs...
STIB/MIVB offer a day ticket covering all local public transport - buses, trams, metro and trains - within Brussels for EUR 4,00 (at December 2006).
For visitors staying a little longer, the 3/5 ticket allows 3 days travel in a 5 day period for EUR 9,00 and the 5/10 ticket 5 days in 10 for EUR 12,00. These two tickets are "only" valid on STIB/MIVB buses, trams and metro, but that covers pretty much everywhere a tourist will go!
A tourist arriving by Eurostar at Bruxelles-Midi/Brussel-Zuid station should head for the Metro station as the ticket office there is the most reliable place to obtain the free public transport map. The tourist information "office" on the station usually only has the Metro plan in stock. Tickets are available at the Metro station or from multilingual ticket machines at all main stops.
The nearest Metro & "pre-metro" (underground tram) stop for the Grand Place is Bourse/Beurs, which is also handy for a Delhaize supermarket for those little pre-departure purchases!
Remember that you need to validate your ticket each time you enter a Metro station or board a bus or tram by popping them into the orange validator. Few locals seem to bother, but then they probably all have season tickets...
De Lijn offer what has to be the biggest public transport bargain in Western Europe: the dagpass ("day ticket").
Available from drivers, ticket offices and the multilingual ticket machines found at main stops, there are actually a number of variants - a one day pass, a three-day pass and a five-day pass.
Why are they such a bargain? Well, they cover all of Flanders, from Antwerp to the French Border at De Panne, including Ieper (Ypres), Brugge (Bruges) and Gent, and eastwards to the Dutch border near Maastricht. Not forgetting, of course, the famous Kusttram (coastal tramway) from De Panne through Oostende and the north sea resorts to Knokke.
They're slightly cheaper if bought in advance, but the most you'll pay at 2006 prices is...
EUR 6 for one day, EUR 12 for three days and EUR 18 for five days.
TEC don't have the wide range of period tickets, but the most you'll pay for any one journey is EUR 3,90 and they offer a day ticket ("Libre Parcours") for EUR 6.
Finally, for those staying in eastern Belgium, a lesser-known ticket for the tourists...
The Euregio Ticket is available all week and covers buses, trams and local trains in the Liege and Limburg (Hasselt) regions of Belgium, the Aachen region of Germany and the Zuid-Limburg (Southern Limburg) area of the Netherlands (around Maastricht and Heerlen). At the weekend it really comes into its own, as the price of EUR 13,50 covers two adults and three kids as well.
More information (in English) on this website.