Belgium offers 10 free train travel to all residents as it facilitates locking

Belgium offers 10 free train travel to all residents as it facilitates locking

(CNN) – The Belgian government announced on Saturday that it would give a free ten-way railway card to all residents, as part of a set of measures to boost domestic tourism and the economy.

Other announcements included a VAT cut, higher social security payments and a 300-euro gift voucher that employers can give to their staff for use in restaurants or travel to the theater or museums.

Belgium entered its third phase of locking measures on June 8, with almost all businesses reopening, including hotels, cafes and restaurants, although social distance measures are in place.

Despite the relatively quick exit from the lockout, Belgium has one of the highest per capita deaths in Europe, with more than 9,600 deaths in a country with a population of 11.5 million.

And not all residents play by the existing measures – Prince Joachim, nephew of King Philip of Belgium, was was forced to apologize earlier this month, when he signed a coronavirus after closing the lock to attend a party in Spain.
Belgium will reopen its borders with other European countries on June 15 ten-way train card, which is usually available for 83 euros for passengers over the age of 26, is distributed free of charge for use by all residents between 1 July and 1 December. Belgians can also get their bikes on the train for free.

The Belgian capital, Brussels, and the major cities of Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp are accessible by train, as are the forested hills of the Ardennes region.

It sounds like a good innovation for a country that is relaxing from being locked up – but the national railway company says the government has neglected to consult with them.

Sophie Dutordoir, head of the public railway company SNCB, took to Twitter on Sunday criticize the move, saying the lack of consultation has caused serious concern in the state SNCB.

“We think it’s good that our government wants to promote the use of public transport as a viable way to travel,” SNCB spokesman Dimitri Temmerman told CNN.

“However, the way in which this decision was made on Saturday without any consultation raises very serious questions. The free distribution of trains to all residents of Belgium raises the issue of the safety of travelers and our staff. The SNCB is by no means It will not endanger security, which is why it has worked hard in recent months. ”

Temmerman backed Dutordoir’s statement on Twitter, saying: “That’s why we asked for immediate consultation and all necessary assistance to avoid the risk of overcrowding on our trains and platforms. At the same time, the aspects of logistics and finances need to be clarified. ”

Even after the discount for children and other ineligible travelers, the proposal could potentially burden the country’s rail network with nearly 100 million additional trips in 2020.

Safe public transport in public transport is one of the biggest challenges facing cities around the world as they consider blocking measures.

Many countries have made the use of a mask mandatory, and railway companies are considering seat reservation models. The London-based design company, PriestmanGoode, has proposed one seat solution to allow increased bicycle storage using the socially excluded transport area.
Belgium’s federal justice minister Koen Geens was the first government official to respond. The Brussels Times. “It’s absolutely right that the government should get in touch with Sophie Dutordoir,” VTM Nieuws told the Flemish news channel. “If that doesn’t happen, it’s our fault.”
Last month, the European Union presented one Action Plan reopen its internal borders, securely strengthen the hospitality sector and revitalize rail, road, air and sea connections.

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom, which officially left the EU on 31 January, rejected the trend by imposing controversial 14-day quarantine on all arrivals in the country, which entered into force – such as the three-phase phase of Belgium – on 8 June.

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