When in Brussels, it is easy to get around using the city’s integrated network of metro trains, trams and buses. Those looking to just stay in the city will not have a problem without a car, unless they care to venture off into the suburbs. The Brussels Intercommunal Transport Company (STIB) operates the city’s metro, trams and buses.
As for ticketing, passengers have the option of purchasing the MoBIB card, which is a contact-free device that can be used at of the STIB stops or stations. Regular tickets may be purchased at many places, including supermarkets and newsstands; a number of automated machines are now being put up at tram and bus stops around Brussels. Buying a ticket in advance is cheaper than on board.
STIB services start at 5:30 AM daily, and usually run until about 11:00 PM. Vehicles run less frequently on Sundays and on school holidays.
The STIB website offers a few network maps.
The metro offers service to a large part of the Brussels Capital Region. Some of the stations are beautifully decorated by famous Belgian artists, and are worth observing. This network is known to be a clean and safe way to travel. Metro stations around Brussels are indicated on the street with an “M” sign, and the trains provide announcements in Dutch, English and French.
This system has four lines, and they service 59 stations through about 50 kilometers of track. Lines 1, 2, 5 and 6 are conventional metro lines. Most of the stations are below the ground, but 5 and 6 have some stations located on ground level. The “premetro” lines, 3 and 4, are really tram lines use the city’s North-South Axis tunnel. Metro tickets can be purchased at the stations through automated machines. Bike riders are allowed to take their bikes on the metro trains.
There is also the airport train, which is a line that travels between the Brussels Airport and city. Travelers must purchase special tickets for this train at the station, as the regular tickets will not work for it.
The Brussels tram network is one of the largest in the world. There are 19 lines that serve various parts of the city.
As Brussels is a mix of modern development and old preservation, the tram routes can provide passengers very different perspectives of the city. Lines 81 and 82 travel through the narrow roads of working class neighborhoods; other lines go through trees and parkland, and some ride around the cobblestone streets. Bike riders are allowed to board their bikes on low floor trams, so long as there are no more than two bikes per car.
Brussels’ bus system consists of 50 lines that branch out to many regions of the city. There are also 11 night bus lines.