The Belgian Rail’s discount card for large families will disappear permanently in 2025. That is why the Gezinsbond, a non-profit organization that defends the interests of families, launches a new proposal allowing parents to take their children on the train for free as long as they live at home. After all, the train is an expensive alternative for families with a car.
Alternatively, Gezinsbond proposes to abolish the current discount card, the weekend ticket, and the discovery ticket and replace it with an off-peak ticket, valid for everyone but only during off-peak hours.
Traveling by train is expensive. A train journey across Europe even is twice as expensive as flying. So, even for domestic trips, the train is one of the least attractive options for families with children. The 2020 Municipal City Monitor revealed that 70% of Flemish people rarely or never take the train for leisure trips.
In November last year, the Belgian national railroad company NMBS/SNCB announced that a new reduction system would replace the current discount card, giving a 50% reduction for families with at least three children. However, what the new system would look like was not yet made clear.
That is why the Gezinsbond is taking the initiative and asking for a worthy replacement for all families, including one-parent families. They want to prevent families from taking their car more often again.