Getting around using public transport in Bruxelles is easy and hassle-free. The system consists of a combination of metro, tramway, and bus lines. What I really enjoyed was the consistency of ticketing options throughout all systems: you can always either use your credit card or VPay debit card as a ticket (blue validation machines) or buy a special multiticket pass and validate it on the red machines when entering a vehicle.
If you choose to buy a BrusselsCard the public transport is already included. You’ll get a code that you have to enter at one of the STIB-MIVB Go ticket machines and you’ll receive an RFID-enabled event pass you can use in every vehicle. But you could also simply buy a multi-trip ticket and top-up whenever you need.
The metro system consists of currently four lines and two so-called prémetro extension lines. At the metro you must validate your ticket at gates when entering and exiting stations. The lines 1 & 5 as well as 2 & 6 run in parallel in the center:
- Line 1 (purple): East-West connection from Gare de l’Ouest to Stockel passing the city center and the European Quarter.
- Line 2 (orange): Ring connection around the city center.
- Line 5 (yellow): East-West connection from Erasme to Herrmann-Debroux, passing the city center and the European Quarter.
- Line 6 (blue): Ring connection around the city center and extension to the north (Roi Baudouin) including Heysel for Atomium.
The tramway network is a good addition and serves many areas not easily reachable by metro. Eighteen lines are currently existing, and the numbering feels a bit odd (3,4,7,8,9,19,25,32,39,44,51,55,62,81,82,92,93,97) – but that is just because there were much more lines in the past. What surprised me was that tramways sometimes also run in the underground without being part of the metro system.
And finally, there is a dense bus network that is always my last resort. But using buses is absolutely simple right these days. Smartphone apps like Google Maps can calculate the right route and help you when to get out. The bus stops in Bruxelles are also well-designed and have electronic displays showing you when the next buses will arrive.