Brussels to make public transport free to use on high air pollution days

The move will look to ensure the city meets EU air quality directives and help reduce pollution levels

Tuesday 27 February 2018 15:44
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Trains, trams and buses will be free when levels of particulates are high
Trains, trams and buses will be free when levels of particulates are high

Brussels will make public transport and the city’s bike share system free on high air pollution days.

The move will look to ensure the city meets EU air quality directives and help reduce pollution levels.

Under new proposals if two consecutive days have high levels of particulate matter, which is a measure of air pollution, trams, buses and trains will all have to be made available for free.

Wood-burning stoves would also be banned and speed limits on cars would also be reduced.

Pascal Smet, Brussels’ mobility minister, said “quality public space” was needed to reduce the number of cars.

“Research shows that the more space you give to cars, the more cars you attract. Indeed, the most car-friendly cities are also the most congested,” Mr Smet told The Guardian.

“By giving back space to pedestrians and cyclists, cities can create places where people meet and connect.”

Brussels is not the first European capital to make the move. In 2016 Paris made all transport free after a spike in air pollution.

The number of drivers who were allowed into the city were limited, with odd-numbered registration plates allowed on some days and even-numbered ones allowed on others.

The German government is also planning to trial free public transport in cities suffering from air pollution.

Five cities – Bonn, Essen, Herrenberg, Reutlingen and Mannheim – will benefit from the trial “at the end of the year at the latest” according to proposals drawn up by the Federal government.

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