February 1: discounts on buses, trams and some medicines; trains get more expensive
February 1 brings several new measures in Belgium. The Brussels public transport company STIB is aware of changes in commuting behavior and announces a ticket for remote workers.
Since the corona pandemic has made working from home more common, a traditional subscription is no longer beneficial for employees who only have to go to the office two to three days a week. From February 1, they can use a new flexible ticket of 75 journeys that is valid for 90 days.
Stib also announces a cheaper subscription for 65+ passengers. Anyone over the age of 65 and living in Brussels can use all STIB trams and buses for a year for 12 euros. Until now, the same service costed 60 euros. This measure begins to be valid from the 1st of July.
The Belgian railway company NMBS/ SCNB will increase the rates from February 1, including the surcharge for Brussels Airport tickets. On average, this is an increase of about 9 percent.
School and commuter subscriptions will become 9.73 percent more expensive. The price of other products will increase by 8.73 percent. So, a senior ticket for people over 65 costs 7.80 euros (+0.60 euros) from 1 February and a youth ticket up to 26 years costs 7.10 euros (+0.50 euros). An ordinary ten-ride ticket ('Standard Multi') will become 9 euros more expensive: 93 euros digitally or 96 euros on paper. The on-board fare surcharge for those who buy a ticket on the train will increase from 7 euros to 9 euros.
The railway company says it is forced to adjust the rates to the impact of rising inflation and energy prices. As the country's largest electricity consumer, it expects the electricity bill in 2023 to be more than 200 million euros higher than last year. The tariff adjustment will only cover a limited part of the increased operating costs.
Wood pellet check
Due to higher energy prices, the Belgian govenrment is also offering a "pellet check" worth 250 euros for those who mainly heat their homes with pellets. Those who are eligible can submit an application to the FPS Economy from 1 February.
As from 1 February, a medicine treatment of cystic fibrosis will also be reimbursed for children aged 6 to 11 depending on a number of medical criteria. Since September 1, the expensive Kaftrio has already been reimbursed for eligible children from the age of 12.
Belgium will also reimburse the monotherapy Kalydeco. This medicine restores the salt-water balance in the airways, thinning the mucus and better protecting the lungs. This therapy is already reimbursed from the age of 2, but now cystic fibrosis patients from 4 months of age will also be eligible.
Illustration picture taken during a presentation to the press of the new equipment for the visually impaired from STIB, in Brussels Wednesday 04 May 2022. To enable visually impaired, dyslexic or simply absent-minded travelers to board the correct vehicle, STIB is rolling out an audio system that announces arriving buses and trams. BELGA PHOTO OPHELIE DELAROUZEE