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Record fines for De Lijn bus drivers

08:59 24/04/2024

A total of 2,531 traffic offences by De Lijn were recorded last year, representing fines of more than €173,000.

The number is an increase of almost 17% when compared to the last record-breaking year of 2022, De Tijd reports.

In previous years, bus and tram drivers in Flanders had never recorded more than 2,000 offences.

The figures come from Flemish mobility minister Lydia Peeters (Open VLD) at the request of Flemish MPs Orry Van de Wauwer and Sofie Mertens (both CD&V).

“It's not unusual for drivers to commit an offence once in the hundreds of thousands of kilometres they travel,” Van de Wauwer said.

“But the doubling of fines compared to 2019 is worrying and should not be accepted. A De Lijn driver should set an example on the road.”

Speeding was the offence in more than nine out of 10 cases. The number of minor offences, such as speeding less than 10 kilometres per hour after accounting for a margin of error, is particularly high.

In addition to more than 2,300 speeding fines issued by automatic controls, 79 drivers were pulled over by police. A further 28 fines were given to drivers for using a mobile phone while behind the wheel, which is significantly less than the previous years.

A bus driver who receives a fine generally does not have to pay it personally unless there is a pattern of repeated offences, in which case De Lijn recovers the fine from the driver.

There are significant regional differences in this regard. In Antwerp and Ghent or in the Kortrijk-Bruges region, for example, drivers personally paid less than 20% of the fines last year. Elsewhere in the province of Antwerp, the figure was 11%.

By contrast, in the rest of East Flanders, Brussels and Flemish Brabant, drivers paid more than a third of the fines. In Limburg, drivers have to pay almost half the fines themselves.

Written by Helen Lyons