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Better reimbursement of train passes for 100,000 commuters

09:23 10/04/2024

Employees who take the train to work and are not reimbursed by their employer will have to pay less for their season ticket from this summer, following the approval of a new collective bargaining agreement from the National Labour Council.

The agreement affects some 100,000 commuters, according to Belgium’s mobility minister Georges Gilkinet (Ecolo).

They will be refunded at least 71.8% of the train pass price, compared to 56% today, in the form of a tax credit when they make their annual income tax declaration.

A monthly Ghent-Brussels season pass currently costs €211. Currently, an employee can be refunded €118. That will become €151 from 1 June, by the estimation of trade union ACV.

Gilkinet said this could lead to a significant reduction in costs and better income for employees, even if they use a Flex subscription.

“Starting this summer, tens of thousands of workers will have to pay less to travel to work by train,” Gilkinet said.

“Whereas they used to pay 44% of the price of their season ticket, they will now only pay 20%. This improved formula has a clear positive effect: for the people concerned, it means a net benefit of up to several hundred euros a year for long distances.”

“Thanks to the additional incentive, we are significantly improving the system, which had become unfair,” Gilkinet added.

“In this way, we’re sending a positive signal – we’re supporting workers who choose the most environmentally friendly way to travel and making taking the train even more attractive to attract more workers.

"An effective modal shift requires, among other things, fairer mobility taxation. Step by step we are building towards that."

Monthly subscription passes from Stib and De Lijn will also be better reimbursed.

The law introducing the tax credit for employers will be voted on by parliament next week.

Written by Helen Lyons