Brussels trams

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Description:
The Brussels tram (or streetcar) system is one of the ten largest in the world, carrying some 75.6 million passengers in 2009. Its development demonstrates many of the quandaries that face local public transport planners. It also has a number of interesting peculiarities.

History

The first horse-drawn trams were introduced in Brussels in 1869, and ran from the Porte de Namur to the Bois de la Cambre.



Intermodal integration

The system exists in an interesting local government context, because Brussels is a self-governing region, in fact an enclave within Flanders, although lying only some 3.3 kilometres from Wallonia at the closest point. This means that three-way deals are necessary between Brussels’ own STIB/MIVB, Flanders’ De Lijn and Wallonia’s TEC. Within the range of transport modes operated by STIB/MIVB (the Brussels Intercommunal Transport Company) trams fall between buses and a heavy metro. But beyond that, STIB sees itself as a provider of mobility rather than just public transport, and has a 49% share in the town’s carsharing franchise. The Brussels conurbation – its 19 municipalities plus adjoining commuter belt – is also served by a fairly dense network of main-line trains. There is a good level of interticketing, and multiple-journey cards are interchangeable. A simple tariff system permits passengers to make unlimited changes with a one-hour period at a...
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