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MPs want crackdown on smartphone noise in public transport

09:27 29/09/2023

People using excessively loud smartphones in public transport should be punished, according to a motion for a resolution tabled in the Brussels parliament by two MPs.

Announcing the plan for a new law, Brussels liberal MPs Anne-Charlotte d’Ursel and David Weytsman from the Mouvement Réformateur (MR) group said that their aim was to “combat noise pollution through smartphone loudspeakers on the Stib network”.

In short, they want to see sanctions imposed on users who oblige everyone to hear their music and/or telephone conversations.

Their pleas follow a recommendation of the Brussels committee on noise that, they say, clearly called to raise awareness of the use of loudspeakers (from telephones or headphones) on public transport, to no avail.

“The Brussels government has not followed up this recommendation,” d’Ursel said.

"While the majority of Stib users understand the principle that their freedom ends where that of others begins, some people still do not seem to be aware that using a loudspeaker can be a real nuisance to the people around them.

"I am astounded by the number of people who adopt such behaviour."

For Weytsman too, the proposal is anything but trivial – with many studies demonstrating the harmful effects of noise pollution on health.

Users of public transport can often spend up to two hours a day in the stations and vehicles along their route. An unpleasant noise level is therefore not only annoying, but also potentially damaging for hearing and for health in general.

Written by Liz Newmark