Starting from 31 August, Belgian residents can apply for a free rail pass using the website launched by Belgian railway company SNCB.
The free pass includes 12 free train rides and can be requested by all Belgian residents over 12 years old. The decision to offer free rides to all Belgians was part of a government measure to support the tourism sector after the covid-19 crisis by promoting travel within the country.
The train pass will be valid from 5 October, but applications will start today until 30 September, on the website hello-belgium.be.
According to SNCB, anyone who has applied for a pass will receive a paper ticket by post after 8/10 days. The pass will include the passenger’s name, and travelers will be able to use it for a maximum of two journeys per month, for a six-month period.
François Bellot, Federal Mobility Minister, said that the goal of the free pass is to encourage Belgian residents to visit and rediscover their own country and its different facets.
The twelve-journey pass is valid on all SNCB trains, across the entire Belgian railway network. All passengers will have to fill in their pass before the journey and show it to the train conductor together with their ID card.
Bellot explained that the National Security Council postponed the start date for the use of the pass from mid-August to 5 October. “We will continue to closely monitor the epidemiological situation,” he added.
Throughout the day, the website has been experiencing some technical difficulties, such as long loading times and an error message. These issues appear now to be quickly fixed.